Jeff Whetstone: Over Evarts Pair @ The Dallas Art Fair

Hey y'all! EEC and SOCO Gallery just launched Jeff Whetstone at The Joule Hotel in Dallas for the Dallas Art Fair. The exhibition is at 1530 Main Street, and it will be on view through Sunday, April 12.  It's a 44 ft. long photomural of his photograph "Over Evarts Pair" from his series "New Wilderness", which he won a Guggenheim Fellowship for in 2008. 

We first met Jeff at his Raleigh studio on a rare, snowy evening. We had a concept in mind for the exhibition in Dallas-- we wanted a top southern photographer who is pushing the medium in new and innovative directions. It was clear from the start that Jeff was our guy! #dreamproject

Introducing Southern Comfort (SOCO) Gallery

Southern Comfort Gallery is LIVE!

Since June, 2014, I've had the pleasure of consulting on the creation of a brand new gallery, Southern Comfort, which will open in Charlotte, North Carolina in May, 2015. Founded by Chandra Johnson, the gallery will represent emerging and established artworks in all mediums with a specialization in photography. The gallery will be housed in a newly renovated 1920’s bungalow featuring 1,200 sq. feet of exhibition space, as well as a photography bookshop and garden. 

For the past 42 years, Charlotte has been the home of The Light Factory, one of four museums in the United States dedicated to exhibiting photography and video. Other major museums in Charlotte are The Mint Museum, The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. 

SOCO Gallery is adding to the ongoing photography conversation locally and beyond North Carolina. The gallery's inaugural exhibition is titled A Fluid Journey. The exhibition takes it’s name directly from the 1969 movie A Fluid Journey, which is a voyage into 60’s west coast surf culture. The exhibition builds on this idea of the transformative qualities of both water and leisure, and how it affects our physical and mental states. Artists include Will Adler, LeRoy Grannis, Xavier Guardans, Mona Kuhn, Karine Laval, Matthew Porter and Ken Van Sickle. 

Ken Van Sickle

Ken Van Sickle's photographs seem like old friends; they make me imagine what it would be like to stay up late in Parisian cafes in the mid-1950's, or to spend time in Warhol's New York studio in the early 1960's. As painting student in Paris, Van Sickle didn't have much money for film, so he used daytime film at night and only took one or two shots of a particular subject in order to stretch the roll. He was able to capture many of these moments on the first take. The pictures were a super joy to view in person when we met this past fall, and so we decided build him a new website where you can view the works as well:

Eda_Lot on Instagram

Follow @Eda_Lot on Instagram if you want to see the more of what I've been seeing. 

Frieze and Fiac 2014

Frieze London was a culture clash of old vs. new. Kind of like London itself.

Standout new works from Frieze's Focus section were Erica Baum's folded dog-tag Stills at Bureau, and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy's new paintings at Freedman Fitzpatrick.

Other more established gems include Sugimoto's Northern Spruce at Pace London, the Mono-ha booth, specifically the work of Kiyoji Otsuji at Taka Ishii Gallery, and the new photographs by Andrew Dadson at Galleria Franco Noero

Also, Walead Beshty's A Partial Disassembling of an Invention Without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in Which the Pulleys and Cogwheels Are Lying Around at Random All Over the Workbench  at the Barbican was incredible. (pictured below). 

A couple of non-art related discoveries were the Queen's Head & Artichoke for a post-fair pint and tapas, and Spiritland, the newly opened-yet-temporary Japanese inspired listening room where Franz Ferdinand were just hanging out...playing records... as they do.  

Thanks for all the love, London. I'm headed to FIAC this week. See you soon. 

From 1933 to Infinity: John Rombola at The Ace Hotel

I am SUPER excited to work with 99U and The Ace Hotel to present John Rombola: Local Artist. John has been making his artwork from his home in Brooklyn for well over half a century. The press release is below. The opening on September 4, 2014. 


6PM - THU SEP 04, 2014


The Gallery at Ace Hotel New York teams with 99U to present Local Artist, an exhibition of works by artist John Rombola. Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Rombola's creative career has inconspicuously paralleled the likes of Andy Warhol, Saul Steinberg and Ben Shahn. Local Artist travels back a half-century to revisit Rombola’s bustling commuter-scenes, playful robotic figures and depictions of high-style beach days. 

Rombola's last solo show was in 1972 and his most recent studio visit — with Henry Geldzahler — was 20 years ago. Despite having works published in LIFE, Horizon, Idea-Japan, Holiday and Town & Country, being Included in the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum in Washington D.C. and the New York Historical Society, John's works are still largely unknown by the public. For the past two decades, he’s retreated into his art, working diligently at his modest kitchen studio in Brooklyn, surrounded by pink walls and wallpaper of his own design, and quietly documenting the evolving architecture, people and fashions of the city with razor-sharp whimsy. 

Ace Hotel New York partnered with 99U in early 2014 to celebrate the annual 99% Conference. There, we were introduced to curator Elana Rubinfeld, who’d had an ongoing dialog with Rombola for several years. After a limited edition poster of Rombola’s work was published by 99U, the curatorial trio came together with Local Artist — a shared effort to bring much deserved attention to one of New York’s best-kept secrets. 

Interview with 2014 Whitney Biennial Artist Dona Nelson

I conducted this interview many years ago for ArtSlant. My questions are basic, borderline silly. Dona's words are the opposite, and worth sharing. 

 Dona Nelson,  Poolside

Dona Nelson, Poolside

Elana Rubinfeld: You started working in black and white in the 1970's, and now work in a variety of milky tones and neon hues. Can you tell us about your relationship with color through the years?

Dona Nelson:  I feel like I don't know anything about color that I can talk about. To me, color is like going out in to the backyard and putting my shovel into the ground. Also, I didn't only paint in black in white in the 1970's. I also worked in color back then.  It's just that I actually I had a lot of big paintings in the 1970's, and I've moved so much in my life - I've had about 40 different studios. It's been hard for me to carry my paintings around. I've tended to destroy them instead. I've destroyed decades of work. I liked to destroy a painting when I was younger because I was able to clean out my studio and I was able to go to another place with my art. Just jump, you know? I believe in that. That you can really jump your work. That you don't have to stay with certain talent or intelligence, but you can actually use your work to change as a human being - change your whole identity. I'm kind of an artist for myself, and for my life, and that's it! (laughing). My destroying days are hopefully over. It's a new policy.

ER: Who or what influenced you to start painting?

DN: When I was in second grade, my mother took an art class. I loved her little wooden art box with rows of heavy tubes of oil paint. I would take the tubes out of the box, take the caps off, and smell the paint. I liked it much better than crayons. From then on, I was a painter. I've been painting seriously since I was 11. I used to enter the state fair contests where I lived. I grew up in Ohio, and I'm originally from Nebraska, but that was Indiana where my mother took art classes. Sometimes I would just tag along with her, and her artbox was my main interest. The paints at the time were made in Cincinnati, and they were called Permanent Pigments.  They had a lot of pigment in them and they were very heavy tubes. I still remember the weight of the tubes. My mother was a Sunday painter, and we took art classes together at our church. She continued to take adult educations classes. Some teacher told her that "if you can't do anything better than that, then you should stop painting," which is outrageous! She would make these characters out of her imagination at that time, and the teacher was probably a bitter old modernist. So she quit painting, and later on in life I would say, "Mom. I'm an actual artist, and I think you're really good!"  But you know, it's funny, I was telling that story to a student of mine recently. He's very honest. He's from Egypt, and I like him a lot. He said, "She probably didn't like your paintings, Dona." I thought his answer was great.

ER: Your current exhibition at Thomas Erben Gallery is a survey of your paintings from the early 1970's through the present, and reflects various styles of painting and material use.  What makes you shift your approach?

DN:  When I'm working well, without distractions, the paintings kind of make themselves. Why would they all be the same when life is full of such a variety of experience? My paintings are not separate from my life.  This show is a very small survey. I have some really very large paintings that wouldn't fit in the gallery. People say that the paintings on view are different, but I think there is something very similar in everything (walking over to paintings). Except for this one (points to The Palmist Reveals the Future of Painting). They're all an identification with the canvas and the body. I feel like Abstract Expressionism, you know, they like their canvases very big to address the body experience. But I do think that in a certain way that sight - what you see - is what you see with the body. I feel like all these paintings have that in common.

ER: A 2006 Art in America review of your exhibition "Brain Stain" said that you're "one of the very few painters with the fortitude to confront Pollock head-on." Could you take him on?

DN: (Laughing) Well, I think the man who wrote that review may not be that familiar with my work. I don't feel like I have that much in common with Pollock except I've sometimes used enamel paint and sometimes work on the floor. I don't think of myself as competing with other artists. I'm much less competitive than I was when I was young. As I've gotten older, I see younger artists and I'm scared of how competitive they are with each other. As I've gotten older I feel it's very misguided to be competitive with other artists. I think a lot of times it derails you and gets you off the development of your own path. It also means that if you're going to be competitive with other artists, then you're going to be influenced by them, or accept their premises. And contest those premises. You're reacting to those premises when you're competitive with them. You're not free. I don't want to take anyone on. I just want to wander around in my garden.


ArtSlant would like to thank Dona Nelson for her assistance in making this interview possible.

--Elana Rubinfeld

Fifth Avenue Loft

This project was an awesome creative collaboration with Andrea Goldman Interiors, Elana Eda Consulting and the collector. We got some great and rare pieces including Matthew Brandt, Richard Mosse, Peter Holzhauer as well as vintage photographs of Coney Island right after it was first built. We were aiming for a concept of "New York// LA", but added the congo as well. 

Screenshot 2014-02-23 12.41.59.png

Stephen Powers Mural in TriBeCa

I've been working with Waggener Edstrom Communications on their beautiful new offices in TriBeCa. They have a 55 foot white wall made of cinder block. A huge, weighty, cratery, blank canvas that their formidable New York team stares at everyday. The art for the wall had to be smart, colorful and reflect the positive creative ideals of the company.

Right from the start, we knew there was only one man for the job:  Stephen Powers (or ESPO depending on how far back you want to go). You'll recognize his legendary work if you've ever been in New York--- his major murals and signs grace walls from Manhattan to Coney Island and beyond.  He paints everything by hand. He listens to awesome music when he does it. I was able to see the installation over the weekend, and it was one of the most exciting transformations of a space I've ever encountered... and it's still a work in progress! Here is a preview of what he's been making. Enjoy! 


SPACE and 1MSQFT on Cool Hunting

By David Graver in Culture on 20 January 2014

Amid the clattering bustle of a small resort town packed street-to-screen with the film industry, two art galleries are providing a different option for the artistic influx that temporarily inhabits Park City, Utah. This year at Sundance, pop-ups "SPACE" and "1MSQFT" are delivering divergent experiences linked by the same curatorial team. The former, a serene reprieve showcasing breathtaking landscape photographs, and the latter, with bright and powerful works across multiple media, were conceived by acclaimed curator Ken Miller and art advisor Elana Rubinfeld. Their work together on "SPACE" ultimately led Miller to additionally curate "1MSQFT" with Rubinfeld's help.



For "SPACE," the duo united 10 leading contemporary photographers—from world renowned Nan Goldin to celebrated fashion photographer Juergen Teller—for a group showcase of one image from each artist. Rubinfeld observes that "even the most well-known photographers still do sunset portraits." The idea of capturing landscapes still appeals to professional lensmen, and when complemented by Park City's mountains just outside, the team believed it would be an apt subject that would appeal to the worldly Sundance goers. Rubinfeld tells CH, "Photo speaks so nicely to film. We weren't sure if anything would come of this but we thought it would be nice to try and offer it. It's a peaceful place in the midst of all of it." Miller continues the sentiment, explaining that "there's an audience here and no one has done a photo show."

The two met each other through Rubinfeld's previous gallery position and by having mutual friends in the art world. Miller has previously curated multiple museum-quality photo exhibitions on a global scale, while Rubinfeld has organized exhibitions for MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center to The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, with a specialization in contemporary works. With "SPACE" their interests and background functioned hand-in-hand to produce more than just a photo show.

 This guy won best outfit at Sundance. Daily. 

This guy won best outfit at Sundance. Daily. 

Together, they intended to craft a meditative space that would reflect the natural beauty of a city's landscape—seeking something both low key and intimate. The space within "SPACE" is exactly that. A big, broad window defines the front façade, filling it with natural light. Just inside, a wooden block seating area provides respite. "It's so hectic outside and you come in and look at this landscape or an intense mountain and you feel better," Miller notes. The selected works span multiple generations of photographers—all with different backgrounds. Landscape photography has had a historic impact on art and visual language. To see drastically different viewpoints side-by-side demonstrates the full depth and breadth of nature portrayed within art.

 Ken looking unsure about having his photo taken at SPACE

Ken looking unsure about having his photo taken at SPACE

Miller was also tapped to curate the artists for Microsoft's "1MSQFT" pop-up in a slender, ever-unfolding gallery space. This is the second iteration of the art series (the first debuting at 2013'sMiami Art Week), and the temporary exhibition continues to deliver vibrancy and encourage engagement. Miller pulled in a few artists he has worked with before and believes in, and the three installations—one each by ConfettiSystem, Hisham Bharoocha and Carlo Van de Roer—connect by way of their ability to dazzle with a hyper-modern approach to art making.

 My aura got in my eyes... 

My aura got in my eyes... 

Carlo Van de Roer's impact was felt twofold. His contribution, "The Portrait Machine Project" is both an exhibition and an invitation to have your own photograph taken with a Polaroid aura camera. Each large-scale image morphs and warps color, re-imagining the subject surrounded by an energetic aura. The muted color explosions and distortion beautifully embody an almost spiritual element, while the makeshift portrait studio questions the nature of artistic authorship and ownership. The subject has a say, the camera builds the aura, yet Van de Roer orchestrates it all.

 Hisham killed it at 1MSQFT

Hisham killed it at 1MSQFT

With "Churn," artist, musician and designer Hisham Akira Bharoocha greets all who enter. The massive, geometric art piece lies flat against the wall, positioned opposite the entryway. There's balance and chaos, conveyed through small patterning, found within expanding concentric octagons all trapped within a circle, being pierced by two triangles. The use of color soothes as the shapes challenge. As thoughtful as it is, it's also easily beautiful.



"Complex Fringe Wall / Crystal Pinata / Tassel Garland" by CONFETTISYSTEM contributes an air of celebration. The work lends itself as a performance space for two musical acts, but more than that, it drapes the space in shimmering, wondrous waves. Theirs is the type of art begging to be touched.

The drastic differences between both gallery environments demonstrate Miller's prowess. Two locations, two shows, one city; each distinct in content and message. "SPACE" aims to offer a spatial mind-break with beauty as the pathway, while "1MSQFT" encourages active involvement with a pop of color, a twist and a turn, and even an aura. And there is most certainly value in both.




Art Basel + Movies = Sundance?

Ken Miller and I have been working on this for a little while. Stop by after the slopes for some hot chocolate and photography. x

Nan Goldin, Sunset over the bay of Naples from Mt. Vesuvius, Italy, 1997


For Immediate Release:



A Photo Exhibition at Sundance Film Festival


January 16 - February 15, 2014


Park City, Utah - January, 2014: SPACE is a group exhibition of ten leading contemporary photographers that reconsiders the impact of landscape photography at a time when we are increasingly divorced from the natural world. Photographers presented in SPACE are Lee Friedlander, John Divola, Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson, Juergen Teller, Catherine Opie, Todd Hido, Peter Sutherland, Mike Brodie and Jim Mangan. SPACE will be open daily from January 17 through January 26. SPACE is located at 625 Main Street in Park City, Utah. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, January 16 from 6-8PM; an exhibition party will be held on the night of Saturday, January 18.  


SPACE is a consideration of classic landscape photography, and what it means as we increasingly interact with our environments via digital media. SPACE points to the current populist behaviour of capturing the landscape; how nature is observed, fetishized, mythologized and, finally, domesticated in photography today. In a time when we are constantly staring at screens that are inches in front of our faces, SPACE takes a step back to consider natural landscapes, and their reintroduction into our culture’s visual dialogue. Photographing nature in America has a long and storied history, starting with Ansel Adams and Edward Weston and ending with the #sunsetporn in our phones. Each of the works in SPACE interacts with this tradition; capturing monumental mountain ranges, flaming sunsets and personified plants as well as the individual's current relationship with and in nature. Moreover, the notion of space as a signifier of personal freedom has long been a defining component of the myth of the American West. To quote Owen Wilson in the American classic film Armageddon, "Dude, we're in space. Not outerspace… but SPACE."  


Elana Rubinfeld is a curator and an advisor specializing in contemporary art. She has organized exhibitions for top international galleries and institutions including Postmodern Pop Photography at the The Tel Aviv Museum of Art and The Lever House, The Skin We’re In at Yossi Milo Gallery and PopRally at MoMA/ P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. She consults private collectors and institutions on the contemporary art world including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Columbus Museum of Art, Microsoft and Steven Alan.


Ken Miller most recently presented PHOTOGRAPHY, a global touring exhibition of newly commissioned images by some of photography’s greatest artists, with support from Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras. In 2011, he curated fashion week photos and videos for Leica cameras and In 2010, Ken contributed a photo-themed shirt series for apparel brand Uniqlo. In 2009, he consulted for the Phillips de Pury auction house. In 2008, he curated New York Fashion Week conversations for MINI cars. In 2007, he curated art, fashion and technology conversations for Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Enterprises. Ken’s publishing work includes Opening Ceremony, a popular fashion monograph for Rizzoli International. Ken is author of SHOOT, a photography compilation for Rizzoli; SHOOT has been supported with events and exhibitions at the New Museum (New York), Tate Modern (London), Colette (Paris), UCCA (Beijing), and PARCO (Tokyo), among many other venues. He currently contributes “Under the Influence”, a multimedia feature for T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

Special thanks goes to Patagonia and The Sky Lodge for their generous support.

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For a complete works list, images or press inquires, please contact Elana Rubinfeld: