Arts Watch: The New Old Bowery at the New Museum

Martin Wong: Photocollage, 7 x 11 in, Courtesy Fales Collection. Photo by Tim Schreier.

On a recent trip to the New Museum to see its Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969-1989 exhibition, I was reminded of the Bowery of my youth. There were certainly no art museums dotting its landscape (or star-chef restaurants or luxury boutique hotels for that matter), but there was plenty of art. Only I didn’t know it. What I do remember is how run down it seemed—tired looking buildings, garbage strewn about, off-putting restaurant supply stores (a few of which are still holding on) and, except for a few “colorful” characters who were hanging around the flop houses, empty streets. It all seemed so desolate. Of course, these images came from inside the safety of my mom’s car, as we drove on the Bowery on our way to or from Chinatown or someplace else. Little did I know that inside those buildings I was staring at was a different story completely-–a thriving and lively artist community.

LES Film Festival Announces Lineup

LES Film Festival Curators Shannon Walker and Damon Cardasis, along with fellow festival directors Roxy Hunt and Tony Castle.

The L.E.S. Film Festival has announced a fun lineup for its 2012 program, touting big name directors like Abel Ferrara and big screen talent like Willem Dafoe, Dolly Parton and Dustin Lance Black. The local festival, now in its second year, focuses on low-budget film-making and requires submissions to be made for under $200,000.

LES Film Festival Kicks Off Twenty Days of Films

The LES Film Festival Creative Team: Damon Cardasis, Shannon Walker, Roxy Hunt and Tony Castle, celebrating after opening night

The LES Film Festival kicked off 20 days of shorts and features made for under $30,000 last night at the intimate Grand Opening space on Norfolk Street.  If the evening’s lineup was any indication, audiences will be in for a treat during the next couple weeks at the festival; their selection of films is quite enchanting. 

The Destruction of Adam Purple’s Garden of Eden – 25 Years Later

Adam Purple's Garden of Eden - Photo by Carl Hultburg

Photographer Harvey Wang is raising funds to (hopefully) put on a show in honor of Adam Purple and his unrivaled “green” project, “The Garden of Eden.” Purple created a huge garden on some abandoned lots on Eldridge Street in the ’70’s and ’80’s. This gorgeous video for the kickstarter project says it all.  But the project info reads:

January 8, 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the destruction of The Garden of Eden, an earthwork created by Adam Purple that once spanned five city lots on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This selection of Harvey Wang’s photographs, for the most part unpublished and on display for the first time, documents the expansion of the Garden from 1978 to 1985. Rare prints of a few of Adam’s 1975-76 negatives will also be shown.