September 14, 2017

Peter Krashes
Block Party

The James Gallery at CUNY Graduate Center

Peter Krashes, More Filled Seats Magnify the Message, 2017. Gouache, 48 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Curators: Katherine Carl and Keith Wilson

Peter Krashes' studio painting over the past decade stands as one complete body of artistic research growing directly out of his other practice as an unpaid community organizer in the Dean Street area of Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. As Peter says, "My work as an activist and my work as an artist extend from the same set of values. All of my works are derived from meetings I attend or events and initiatives I help organize. There is no room in political or governmental processes for many of the activities we involve ourselves in, but perhaps none more so than painting a nuanced image in the studio. As a result, the paintings are the last step in a process I have been engaged with from beginning to end. The imperatives I feel outside the studio are explicit so the outcome in the studio is particular and linked directly to the real world."

Linking the practices of painting and of activism points out the problematic of actions that can be consumed, ignored, and considered irrelevant by those in official political power. Their human scale and material presence as paint on canvas positions these paintings outside the processes in which decisions are made instead of seeking recognition in political discourses of power. Taking a different approach to generating cultural power, Krashes has generated this body of paintings through working out questions that arise in his range of collaborative activist practices. For example, frustration with the narrow, sometimes apparently biased focus of the media has led Krashes to make paintings depicting the glare of cameras pointed in elected officials' faces or expansive interiors of government chambers with recurring images of empty microphones. He also paints the flipside of this equation, namely that individual voices speaking collectively can exercise power. Neighbors painting protest signs, children's face painting, Easter egg hunts, seedbombs tossed into empty lots, and block parties claim space—marking the presence of the communities willfully neglected by those in power.

Related programs
All events are free, open to the public, and at the CUNY Graduate Center unless otherwise noted. Please see website for details.

Friday, September 15, 6–8pm
Exhibition reception
The James Gallery

Wednesday, September 27, 6:30pm
Unintentional Community: From Shared Experience to Action
Peter Krashes, Jaime Stein, Dean Street Block Association members, and others
The James Gallery

Learning from Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park
Susan Lerner, Norman Oder, Robert Perris, and others
Skylight Room, 9100

Wednesday, October 4, 7pm
Prelude Festival, "Heisenberg"
Janani Balusubramanian
The James Gallery

Thursday, October 12, 6:30pm
Art, Populism, and the Alterinstitutional Turn
Marco Barravalle
The James Gallery

Friday, October 13, 9am-8pm
Revolution in the Margins, 1907-2017: Modern and Contemporary Art from Eastern, Central, and South Eastern Europe
Klara Kemp Welch, keynote.

The Amie and Tony James Gallery’s mission is to bring artists and scholars into public dialogue on topics of mutual concern. Located in midtown Manhattan at the nexus of the academy, contemporary art, and the city, the gallery creates and presents artwork to the public in a variety of formats. While some exhibitions remain on view for extended contemplation, other activities such as performances, workshops, reading groups, roundtable discussions, salons, and screenings have a short duration. The gallery works with scholars, students, artists and the public to explore working methods that may lie outside usual disciplinary boundaries.

For more information, contact the James Gallery: T 212 817 2007 / kcarl [​at​]

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