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Downtown Los Angeles

Simon and Lukas. The Haas Brothers. These true LA darlings and dear, new friends evidently didn’t get enough of us while outfitting LA Chapter and our mezzanine bar with smart pencil drawings of deeply-plumbed references to LA’s social history. Here’s some evidence of their enduring and inspirational presence. If you see them, say hello.


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New York City

During a brief break between the snow and cold of this brutal NY winter, Brooklyn based painter Rostarr braved a scant, sketchy scissor lift to adorn the recently installed scaffolding around Ace Hotel New York. 

My name is Romon Yang also know as Rostarr, I am a painter & calligrapher and I live and work in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. I was born in South Korea and moved with my family to Washington D.C. in 1972, I arrived in New York City in 1989 to attend the School of Visual Arts and have called NY home ever since.

Standing outside the whole day watching you paint the mural was pretty great. People crowded around and asked a lot of questions about you, who you are, where you’re from, but the number one question was, “is it some ancient Arabic script?” Tell us about the forms, your inspirations, how this style came about.

My approach to calligraphy is abstract & gestural, similar to asemic writing, and often times iconographic and pictogram like. As a young boy up until art school where I studied Typography and Iconography design, I’ve always appreciated the beauty and forms of calligraphy from China, Korea, Tibet, Thailand and Arabic calligraphic masters, and similarly my appreciation of hand styles by graffiti writers such as Phase II, Rammellzee, Futura, Keith Haring, etc., it was a natural transition for me to go from abstract painting to abstract calligraphy and vice versa. I will forever be a student of the brush & pen.    

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Everyone was amazed at how quickly you worked, you did half of the scaffolding in one day. You don’t appear to make mistakes either, it’s crazy. You’re clearly a pro at this, how long have you been doing this kind of work, these kinds of murals? 

Yeah, it’s a bit crazy to think that I painted a 4 foot high x 350 foot wide mural in 2 days (to be exact 10 hours, but who’s counting). I’ve been very fortunate to have been invited to make murals and large installations of various types, indoors/outdoors since 1998, around the time I joined the NY art collective Barnstormers. Making public art is giving love, plain and simple.

What inspires you, excites you, puts you your totally chill and creative zone?

I find the most pleasure in the moment of painting where I get in the zone and start laying my lines and shapes down, almost like building a visual sculpture. I get inspired by visualizing a location or wall and its surroundings and try to solve the problem with what style will make the right impact. 

With this painting commission for Ace Hotel, speed was an important factor as I wanted this mural to convey the energy and flow of commuters passing by 29th street & Broadway, similar to the way a computer motherboard looks with routes, destinations and intersections.

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Seems like one of the benefits to being a successful artist such as yourself, is that you get to do some traveling. Where’s you’re favorite place you’ve travelled to and what made it special?

I feel so lucky to have travelled a lot for my art, some of my favorite places have been: Tokyo, Paris, London, Venice, L.A., Mexico, Puerto Rico and especially Seoul Korea. Being that I left Korea when I was just 1 years old, Seoul holds a special place in my heart and is a place that I’m so curious about getting to know better, in a short amount of time I’ve met so many talented individuals and good friends out there, Seoul is definitely the place to watch out for!

As with any scaffolding in NYC, Rostarr’s work could be up for 3 months or 2 years. We recommend checking it out soon if you don’t want to miss it: 29th & B’way.

Photos by Lauren Coleman. 


London, UK
Rachel Garrard, Celestial Sphere.

London, UK

Rachel Garrard, Celestial Sphere.


Downtown Los Angeles
In a recess of the rooftop lounge at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles that once served as a transmitter tower for late-night devotional radio broadcasts, we now find this candelabra, brass-lined and gleaming by night over cocktailers and their companions.
Lux perpetua luceat eis.

Downtown Los Angeles

In a recess of the rooftop lounge at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles that once served as a transmitter tower for late-night devotional radio broadcasts, we now find this candelabra, brass-lined and gleaming by night over cocktailers and their companions.

Lux perpetua luceat eis.


New York City

Last week wrapped up the final chapter in 24BY36, an ongoing experiment in art creation within the walls of Ace New York. For the project, 36 solo and duo artists spent the night with the purpose of producing 24 original works by morning. Love letters, collages, manifestos, musical partitions — we’ve been greatly amazed by the fruit of those twenty-four nights. The following snapshots are just an early glimpse into the collection of work and we’re already feeling inspired for the next edition.

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NOWORK

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FCKNLZ

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ARIEL DILL

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PATRICK HIGGINS

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ADAM DUGAS + CASEY SPOONER


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Pestisani, Romania

Constantin Brancusi’s clean geometry, unveiling the essence of things in marble, wood and stone. The modernist sculptor born on this day in 1876 preferred simple clothes, a studio with a rock slab table and a primitive fireplace, and furniture, utensils and a phonograph he made himself.


New York City
The respective works of composer Lesley Flanigan and indie group People Get Ready each approach music as a fundamentally physical act.
Flanigan’s ghostly, undulating electronic compositions are played on her own handcrafted instruments — comprised of minimal electronics, microphones, speakers and tons of feedback — whose bellowing reverberations rely on the clear physicality of human interaction. People Get Ready — a band lead by choreographer Steven Reker — delicately blur the line between pop show and performance piece, with a cleverly constructed hybrid of music and movement. 

Lesley and Steven came together a couple of weeks ago at Ace Hotel New York to participate in our 36BY24 residency project — more on that soon — to prepare for an incredible collaborative show that’s happening tomorrow, February 19 at Kaufman Music Center as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival.

New York City

The respective works of composer Lesley Flanigan and indie group People Get Ready each approach music as a fundamentally physical act.

Flanigan’s ghostly, undulating electronic compositions are played on her own handcrafted instruments — comprised of minimal electronics, microphones, speakers and tons of feedback — whose bellowing reverberations rely on the clear physicality of human interaction. People Get Ready — a band lead by choreographer Steven Reker — delicately blur the line between pop show and performance piece, with a cleverly constructed hybrid of music and movement. 

Lesley and Steven came together a couple of weeks ago at Ace Hotel New York to participate in our 36BY24 residency project — more on that soon — to prepare for an incredible collaborative show that’s happening tomorrow, February 19 at Kaufman Music Center as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival.


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Downtown Los Angeles

Kevin Willis is a journeyman. He’s an admirer of the ‘camp’ in antiquity and seems always to extract the eerie, underlying purpose from a thing where others see only pulp. Kevin is also a closely-kept member of our family and a contributor to Ace culture in ways that outmeasure just his physical work for us.

In the lobby at the Theater at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles resides his Cathedral of Our Ladyfingers. She’s something of a sentry at the mouth of the Gothic grandeur that lies just beyond, taking IDs, looking like Mother Superior clipped from the celluloid of a Buñuel film. Her making was entirely in the clay-caked hands and mind of Kevin, but the inspiration was divine.


New York City
To ready the latest show in the Gallery — Park & Parcel: Watercolors by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder —we worked with master-framer Yaqub Esmaelsadeh, aka Jacob, the proprietor of Decor Art Gallery. 
Born in Kabul, he finished high school in 1979 — precisely three days after the Soviet war began — and promptly left to study medicine in West Germany. Once he graduated from Medical School in Hamburg in 1998, he first visited — and instantaneously fell in love with New York.
After moving to the United States, Esmaelsadah began framing as a part-time job while attending ESL classes in New Paltz. In framing, he found both a career path and an opportunity to express himself creatively. In 1991, he opened the Decor Art Gallery at 337 Park Ave South. He considers himself a pioneer in offering affordable, high quality wood frames.
How has the neighborhood changed since 1991?
I’m one of the few left small businesses in this area. This neighborhood had bad reputation at times but now, it’s one of the most beautiful places in New York. Sometimes I go to Madison Square Park to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
What are some of the more memorable things you’ve framed?
Rifles, Berlin Wall pieces, or a ketubah using the pieces of broken glass from the ceremony…
At a museum, do you ever look at the frames before the art?
Oh yes, not just in museums. Wherever I go, my first attention is on the frames. That’s one of the biggest changes on me, and my house looks like a museum.
Did you ever frame Roger Rabbit?
A few years back, Disney cels were big in the market and we were framing almost every one of those characters…and also Roger Rabbit.
We teamed up with Mad. Sq. Arts to present Park and Parcels. The opening reception is tomorrow at 5pm in the Gallery at Ace Hotel New York.

New York City

To ready the latest show in the Gallery — Park & Parcel: Watercolors by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder —we worked with master-framer Yaqub Esmaelsadeh, aka Jacob, the proprietor of Decor Art Gallery.

Born in Kabul, he finished high school in 1979 — precisely three days after the Soviet war began — and promptly left to study medicine in West Germany. Once he graduated from Medical School in Hamburg in 1998, he first visited — and instantaneously fell in love with New York.

After moving to the United States, Esmaelsadah began framing as a part-time job while attending ESL classes in New Paltz. In framing, he found both a career path and an opportunity to express himself creatively. In 1991, he opened the Decor Art Gallery at 337 Park Ave South. He considers himself a pioneer in offering affordable, high quality wood frames.

How has the neighborhood changed since 1991?

I’m one of the few left small businesses in this area. This neighborhood had bad reputation at times but now, it’s one of the most beautiful places in New York. Sometimes I go to Madison Square Park to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

What are some of the more memorable things you’ve framed?

Rifles, Berlin Wall pieces, or a ketubah using the pieces of broken glass from the ceremony…

At a museum, do you ever look at the frames before the art?

Oh yes, not just in museums. Wherever I go, my first attention is on the frames. That’s one of the biggest changes on me, and my house looks like a museum.

Did you ever frame Roger Rabbit?

A few years back, Disney cels were big in the market and we were framing almost every one of those characters…and also Roger Rabbit.

We teamed up with Mad. Sq. Arts to present Park and Parcels. The opening reception is tomorrow at 5pm in the Gallery at Ace Hotel New York.


Los Angeles, California
Dave Hickey wrote and sent this over before his book signing yesterday. 
I am interested in the survival of the art world now that the distinction between the fine arts and popular arts has dissolved — now that the one-time congeniality of the cottage industry that created most of the great art of the twentieth century has been infected by the relentless, aggressive habits of corporate and institutional culture — now that the underground which once provided a home for cultural rebels has been obliterated. For the past one hundred and fifty years, the marketplace has censored popular art. What is popular is popular art. During the same period, high art has been defined by its ability to censor its audience to a knowledgeable and sophisticated audience defined by its ability to tolerate difficulty and dissonance.
During this period, popular art was always more popular than high art. Peter Max was always more popular than Andy Warhol. Andrew Wyeth was always more popular that Alex Katz. Salvador Dali was always more popular than Georges Braque. So how does high art survive when it can be censored by its “popularity.” In this new art world, difficulty and dissonance are routinely suppressed. Writers like myself whose livelihood has been grounded in the interpretation of difficult art are rendered obsolete. Scholars devoted to assessing the historical impact and viability of difficult art are rendered obsolete. The small contingent of dealers and collectors who take chances on behalf of difficult art are rendered inconsequent. Artist devoted to pushing the envelope are de-prioritized.
So what becomes of the tradition of dissonance and difficulty? It survives, I think, but nobody thinks about it. Art is simply defined by its opacity and left opaque, so there are no historical consequences to work that might be difficult to understand. It simply dwells in the tides of fashion as the sort of thing we don’t understand and don’t care to. So, difficult art will continue to be made but no one will notice. This leaves a space for a new underground where people might pay art more careful attention to the world before their eyes.
Photo by Toby Kamps.

Los Angeles, California

Dave Hickey wrote and sent this over before his book signing yesterday. 

I am interested in the survival of the art world now that the distinction between the fine arts and popular arts has dissolved — now that the one-time congeniality of the cottage industry that created most of the great art of the twentieth century has been infected by the relentless, aggressive habits of corporate and institutional culture — now that the underground which once provided a home for cultural rebels has been obliterated. For the past one hundred and fifty years, the marketplace has censored popular art. What is popular is popular art. During the same period, high art has been defined by its ability to censor its audience to a knowledgeable and sophisticated audience defined by its ability to tolerate difficulty and dissonance.

During this period, popular art was always more popular than high art. Peter Max was always more popular than Andy Warhol. Andrew Wyeth was always more popular that Alex Katz. Salvador Dali was always more popular than Georges Braque. So how does high art survive when it can be censored by its “popularity.” In this new art world, difficulty and dissonance are routinely suppressed. Writers like myself whose livelihood has been grounded in the interpretation of difficult art are rendered obsolete. Scholars devoted to assessing the historical impact and viability of difficult art are rendered obsolete. The small contingent of dealers and collectors who take chances on behalf of difficult art are rendered inconsequent. Artist devoted to pushing the envelope are de-prioritized.

So what becomes of the tradition of dissonance and difficulty?
It survives, I think, but nobody thinks about it. Art is simply defined by its opacity and left opaque, so there are no historical consequences to work that might be difficult to understand. It simply dwells in the tides of fashion as the sort of thing we don’t understand and don’t care to. So, difficult art will continue to be made but no one will notice. This leaves a space for a new underground where people might pay art more careful attention to the world before their eyes.


Photo by Toby Kamps.


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