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Black & White: Project Blowup

Originally Posted: October 28, 2008

Edward Callaghan

The place was packed and the energy was through the roof at Project Blowup. Photo
by Sheila Cosgrove Baylis

The Parrish Art Museum's Jessica Ferrari, one of the driving forces behind The Project, said goodbye to her fellow Parrish staffers with one heck of a final blast - "Black & White: Project Blowup."

The party started at the front door with a trio of musicians, an alternative funk band The Farmers Tan Convention, who had arrivals hopping before they even entered the gallery where "Modern Photographs: The Machine, The Body and The City - Selections from the Charles Cowles Collection" is on view.

In the Museum's main hall there was a one-night-only art installation, "Darkroom" comprised of black and white artwork of every medium set against towering cityscapes scrawled on paper and a central backdrop of massive vintage photos spooling to the pulsating music. Clearly Jessica and her team had gotten the word out to all the young arts groups and individuals and the resulting displays ranged from the whimsical to the horrific to the bizarre. More than 20 young artists, including participants from Long Island art collectives Arts4 of Sag Harbor, Bonac Tonic of East Hampton, and Fresh of Port Jefferson, created the works based on the themes of the exhibition, shown under red, darkroom-like lighting. The ethereal lighting created an otherworldly effect and the perfect backdrop for the black and white constructions.

Highlights included Cal Thompson's cleverly titled, "The World's First Work of Art that Takes Money" resembled an old kinescope and featured, for $1, a peek at some of Cal's other art. Steven Zaluski's impressive steel sculpture, "The Human Spirit" looked as if plucked from the 1939 World's Fair. There was also Moses Burden's mesmerizing video installation "Adrift in Another," Slim Cook's spacey "Crash Test Party Girl," and Robert Nasatka's "Machination." Two works incorporating neon including a surrealistic skyscraper by Clayton Orehek, and Bridget Kaufman's painting of an Asian demagogue with a field of identically clad dancers below.

Jessica Ferarri and Rodney Smith. Photo by John Wegorzewski

But at The Project, music is as important as the art and there was no shortage of talent on hand that evening. DJs for the night were Brian Grattan and Dave Moltera of Rockstar Entertainment who provided the perfect counterpoint to the works on view. Local hip-hop artists Zonaseis, Dashah, Slayback, and Soul-A-Flex performed freestyle in the concert hall against the backdrop of the artists installations. Throughout the night, DJ Dave kept spinning hip-hop and dance tracks making sure the dance floor stayed moving.

The art wasn't all stationary - Walter Sullivan and Rodney Smith sported original black and white tee-shirts with political messages from event sponsors Mary Lynne and Rob Hess's Sag Harbor boutique Labl - Street Wear. Also sporting their own unique designs were Harris Innes-Miller, Alissa Smith, and Robert Nasatka.

As always the event pulled a large crowd with young people coming from all over the area to take part in this one-of-a-kind event. Where else can you get admission to the museum, complimentary snacks and beverages, great music and fab art for only $5? It would not have been possible without the generous support of The Southampton Publick House, Labl of Sag Harbor, Smith, The Milk Pail, Rockstar DJ Entertainment, Niche Imports, and Smart Water who donated products and services to support the event.

Congratulations to Alea, Molly, Walter, Rodney, Marie Therese, and the dozens of young volunteers who produced this special happening. Special thanks to Jessica who is hoping to bring her enormous creative skills and aesthetic to the world of food.


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