A New Era

(l - r) Performa benefit November 2012, Profile picture September 2012, Phillips de Pury June 2006, Summer Art Circle press photo May 2006

(l – r) Performa benefit November 2012 (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images), Profile picture September 2012, Phillips de Pury June 2006, Summer Art Circle press photo May 2006

As of December 2012, this blog is being maintained as an archive. All future posts will be made at www.mskianga.wordpress.com. The highlights of the past 7+ years since I first left Wall Street law to embark on an independent career in “business and patron development for the arts” are all recorded here.

I have imported posts with reasonable success from my first WordPress blog, “Get (A)rt Life!,” and Blogspots for “The Instress of Art” and “Art With Your Own Eyes.” There is a long stretch of video blog entries from early 2010 that auto-posted from Posterous, so that’s a bit of a mess. Please forgive any broken links, empty posts and bad formatting.

In November 2012, I joined the staff of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in historic Peekskill, New York as a program and social media consultant for Peekskill Project V. In 2013, I will again lead private tours for collectors and young museum patrons at the Moving Image Contemporary Video Art Fair, lecture about social media and the contemporary art world for a third year at the Bronx Museum’s AIM Program and hope to participate again in some capacity with currents 2013: The Santa Fe International New Media Festival.  From Beacon, NY, I  present experimental conceptual exhibitions in collaboration with artists through Kianga Ellis Projects and keep notes on philanthropy and art travel at Art Evangelism.

While my use of the social Web evolves with the times, a record of my social media accounts past and present can be found on the sidebar at right. I am most active on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Tumblr. See you on the socials! Cheers, Kianga

What are they good for?

Ms. Kianga:

Elisa Kreisinger posts notes from her Kianga Ellis Projects Google Hangout last night. What do you think about the meme-ification of the 2012 election? Big Bird? Paul Ryan Gosling? Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan? RomCom2012? Eastwooding? Invisible Obama? Binders Full Of Women? Text From Hillary ? And then, the “Best Political Memes“? Do these qualify as art? What is art? I can only define art with this experience with an Art Meme.

Originally posted on :

are memes art?

My notes from last night’s Google+ Debate Hangout.

  • It’s almost impossible to track the success of memes in terms of voter turn out. If memes are successful, they spread. Theoretically, on the internet, ideas that spread, win. But we don’t know if Binders Full of Women or Invisible Obama will result in an increase in voter turnout or a win for Obama.
  • When we don’t see ourselves or our communities represented it begin to desintegrate our sense of self within that community.
  • Memes validate our ideas and opinions and  help us connect with other link-minded people. They give us hope & a sense of community. They reinforce that we are not alone, that our values are represented in the public sphere.
  • Memes encourage us to go from passive audicence to active creator.
  • Many contributions look like crap – they don’t have to be aesthetically perfect. The point is that they…

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Ms. Kianga:

Friends, look for my interview sometime this week! Thanks Brendan for such very thoughtful questions. Responding to them required a kind of reflection that was very helpful in the weeks leading up to announcing a new program for Kianga Ellis Projects.

Originally posted on Brendan Carroll:


I am the current guest blogger for PBS’s blog Art:21.

My column, titled Money Matters, will look at how money and income streams influence the type of work and aesthetic decisions artists (as well as curators) make inside and outside the studio. For the column, I interviewed Amy Wilson, Angie Waller, Erin Riley-Lopez, Jen Mazza, Kianga Ellis, Marius Watz, Paula Hayes, Sam Vernon, and Vidal Centeno. The column runs to 5 October 2012.

Art:21 posted my first interview with artist Angie Waller today: Internet Forager Shuns Art World; Embraces Open Source

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Peter Daverington in Under The Influence

Peter Daverington, Arcadia, 2012, video still
8:54 min - loop single channel HD video

Peter Daverington was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1974, and currently lives and works in New York. In his paintings and new moving image work, Arcadia, digital demarcations of space collide with romantic landscapes expressing a deep desire to reconcile the technology-dependent modern life with hope in the possibility of Transcendence. Preoccupied with the history and progress of painting over the centuries, Daverington’s recent interest in art’s relationship to politics began with the discovery of this portrait of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il hovering over a painted mountain vista.

Kim Jong Il found image from ottoswarroom.blogspot.com

Daverington’s newest work on view in Under The Influence: The Art of Power & Persuasion at Kianga Ellis Projects uses the bold and graphic language of political posters, neon signage in combination with Hudson River School landscapes, text in various languages and recognizable symbols from art history. Ultimately, this conflation of nations, iconic imagery and art historical references reflects the artist’s opposition to nationalism and attitudes of religious supremacy.

1964 Chinese propaganda poster reads
“Get out of Africa, American Imperialism”

The first in a series of 12 large-scale paintings, Dear Leader (God’s Country), 2012, is dominated by a red five-point star, an ideogram featured ubiquitously in the former Soviet Union. The official White House portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama hovers in the center of the star encircled by gold leaf. The portrait evokes Renaissance-era halos placed around the heads of saints in religious painting. A bucolic (or possibly foreboding) Sunset in Yosemite Valley, 1868, by Albert Bierstadt forms the lower background of the painting while cupids armed with an M16 and Bazooka playfully occupy the top portion. Recognizing the important role Hudson River School painting played in promoting the economic interests of newly formed U.S. railroad magnates in the late 1800s, its appropriation here nods to a little known cozy relationship between art and commerce. The words “God’s Country” appear in Russian at the base of the star mocking the political rhetoric begun in the 19th century American era of Manifest Destiny and continuing today.

Peter Daverington, Dear Leader (God's Country), 2012
oil on canvas, 78 x 60 inches

Nikita Gale in Under The Influence

Nikita Gale,Larger Sexual Organs, 2011
photographic sculpture, 48 x 24 inches

Nikita Gale was born in Alaska, United States in 1983, and currently lives and works in Atlanta. Her work seeks to humanize the roles of “spectator” and “consumer” within a system based on the consumption of symbols and materials. Advertising and memory are recurring themes which Gale explores through the mediums of photography, text-based work and painting. Through the use of found and original imagery, she generates tableaux where the symbol and the symbolized exist simultaneously within one space. In her work, we are presented with the idea that there is not necessarily a barrier between states of euphemism and caricature, but rather a threshold where the repeated application of one can result in the creation of the other.

Everything & More, on view for Under The Influence: The Art of Power & Persuasion at Kianga Ellis Projects, is a series of unique sculptures featuring photographs shot during a 24-hour up-all-night excursion around Manhattan during Gale’s 2011 residency at Center for Photography at Woodstock in Woodstock, New York. Lettering from signage in Times Square is rearranged to reveal slogans of consumer desire. At 10 x 6 feet, the title work of the series commands attention within a gallery space, dominating the viewer bodily in a manner similar to that of the work’s subject in the public realm. This relationship between the seductive power of advertising and the public’s belief in its promises is worth considering deeply at a time when the Associated Press reports that “Chinese teen sells kidney to buy iPad, iPhone” (April 7, 2010).


Federico Solmi in Under The Influence

Federico Solmi, The Evil Empire, 2008
4:13 min - video, installation view of Hell scene

Federico Solmi was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1973, and currently lives and works in New York. His exhibitions, which often combine articulate installations composed of different media such as video, drawings, mechanical sculptures, and paintings, use bright primary colors to portray a dystopian vision of our present-day society. Irreverent, surrealistic, and sexually explicit, the videos are satires about the evil and vices that affect contemporary society and mankind.

Solmi uses images culled from the video-game industry, pop culture, and the Internet, and collages them with a historical influence to produce original artworks that have a familiar aesthetic, but tell an unusual story. The universe that he likes to represent is the exaltation of a present that is crumbling apart. It is also a criticism of a system that approves and trusts without questioning the fragile foundation on which our culture and post-modernist society is based.

Solmi’s controversial video, The Evil Empire, 2008, and related paintings will be on view in the exhibition, Under The Influence: The Art of Power & Persuasion at Kianga Ellis Projects. The hand-drawn animated film, made between the years 2007-2008, takes place in the heart of Vatic-anal City, in the year 2046. Surrounded by the glorious frescoes and wealth of his St. Peter Basilica apartment, a fictional Pope is portrayed as a young man struggling with an addiction to pornography, like ordinary men who cannot avoid the temptations of contemporary society. Pope Urban LXIX has embraced the ways of the 21st century, fulfilling all of his vices to no end. At the end of the video, Pope Urban LXIX is sent on a journey through hell where he pays for all of his sins.

The Evil Empire was made in collaboration with Solmi’s longtime collaborator, New Zealand-born 3D artist Russell Lowe. Lowe writes:

The final act in The Evil Empire video (2008) is called “Hell.” Hell was filmed entirely within a modification of “Garry’s Mod” which is itself a modification of the popular Half Life 2 (HL2) “first person shooter” computer game….[T]he modifications include animated textures (every surface within our version of Hell is “skinned” with multiple hand drawings that have been traced over decompiled and modified game textures), world geometry (the walls, floors, ceilings, and stairs of Hell itself), weapon modding (the Pope’s baseball cap), and character modding (the Pope’s penis and mitre). The characters in Hell are either Non Player Characters (NPCs) which are controlled by the sophisticated Artificial Intelligence within the HL2 engine, or actual Players which are controlled by real people within a networked environment.

Federico Solmi, The Evil Empire, 2008, video still