“Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos have been among the most influential artists in the American ceramics movement, transforming the medium from one of many utilitarian ‘crafts’ to a fine art in its own right,” Jeremy Canwell, curator at the Montana Museum of Art and Culture in Missoula, said.

Bronze castings of Voulkos’ breakthrough non-functional, sculptural ceramic “stacks” were featured by Manhattan contemporary art gallery Burning In Water during an exhibit this past summer. The gallery described him as, “widely acknowledged as the progenitor of a profound transformation in American ceramics… Voulkos’ legacy and present-day influence on the medium cannot be over-stated.”

Elissa Author, Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, also in New York, compares his innovations and talent to Jackson Pollock.

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Debbie’s work dialogues with the rich tradition of figurative narrative painting and contains careful consideration of the difference between using the female form as a reflective autobiographical devices versus one that is more simply voyeuristic and possibly cringe-worthy by nature of the demonstrous “male gaze.” In one of Debbie’s recent Instagram posts, she commented: #womencanpaintnudestoo.

As contemporary painters we have the opportunity to step out of time and dialogue with the extended history of painted crafts and enter the current conversation surrounding identity politics and representation. Through many avenues Debbie’s work connects both. She actively transforms the classic motif of the female nude figure from a voyeuristic portrayal of vulnerability to a sensitive narrative of independence.

It takes a strong voice to steer the course of visual commitment and navigate historical inspirations of painting. Debbie achieves this, while balancing the line between representational painting and the magic expressive quality of the paint itself.

Peter Voulkos Installation

“Ceramics were not central to the conversation of mid-20th-century art in the United States, but Peter Voulkos (1924-2002) helped change that. Mr. Voulkos, who taught at Black Mountain College, N.C., and established the ceramics program at the University of California, Berkeley, was famous for throwing huge amounts of clay on the potter’s wheel — up to 150 pounds at a time — and using that material instead of marble or bronze to make sculpture. You can experience this at “Peter Voulkos: Stacks (1969-2001)” at Burning in Water.”


On view at Burning in Water Gallery in Chelsea through September 21, the show was comprised of punctured plates and weighty mud and ash-colored vessels resembling chimneys or primitive ovens whose most defining features were cracks and slashes, sags and insertions of matter by which the artist had disfigured his vessel motifs into sculptures that were, you could say, ugly. But the power of Voulkos’s Stacks — large-scale bronze vessels cast from stacks of cylindrical clay slabs — lay less in their visual harmony than in their material vitality, in traces of the artist’s physical presence that appealed to a sense of touch. Wads of clay with impressions of fingertips conveyed Voulkos’s assertive hand; atavistic scribblings across a vessel’s surface, his curiosity and irreverence.


“American painter, printmaker and sculptor Oliver Lee Jackson has a complex and diverse portfolio that expertly incorporates influences from the Renaissance to modernism and African culture to American jazz. A current National Gallery show presents 18 paintings he created in the past 15 years -- many of which have never before been publicly exhibited.”


How is Jackson influencing modernism?
I don’t love the concept of influence when it comes to art, since it implies an active-passive dualism. I am not exactly sure what modernism means, or any ‘-ism’ for that matter. I would say that Jackson is an essential part of the story of art, both in our times and as it extends back to the caves. He is dealing with age-old questions about how to express and convey human experience, which is at once physical-spatial and social-emotional, with the inert materials of art—and how to bring those materials to life. His ways of doing this are new, vital and very traditional.

Valerie Hegarty, “Fallen Bierstadt,” 2007.  Credit Valerie Hegarty, Brooklyn Museum

Valerie Hegarty, “Fallen Bierstadt,” 2007.

Credit Valerie Hegarty, Brooklyn Museum

“There’s a crescendo of interest in both art that is itself about the environment and art that is self-consciously environmental, and I think that’s entirely understandable and good, because it draws attention to these dire situations we’re facing,” said Karl Kusserow curator of American Art at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Dr. Kusserow is a co-curator of “Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment,” which includes paintings, artifacts, sculpture, prints, photographs and decorative art. It started at the Princeton University Art Museum and is now showing at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem until May 5. It will end at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., from May 25 to Sept. 9.

“It asks people to think in new ways about iconic works,” Dr. Kusserow said. For example, the famous 19th-century painting by Albert Bierstadt, “Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite” — a lush painting of one of the national park’s waterfalls — is hung alongside a work by the artist Valerie Hegarty from 2007, “Fallen Bierstadt,” which shows the same painting askew, burned and ripped.

“Bierstadt presents a certain way of understanding nature as beautiful and unpeopled and full of animals and grain and enduring and static, and Hegarty takes that same image and literally dematerializes it,” he said.

Plan B Installation Shot

“The art community has really come together in a way that makes us all proud,” Peter Hort tells Galerie. “We’ve tried to adapt the spaces to the dealers who are participating, and they’re making sales, which makes us equally happy.”

Below, Galerie highlights six artists to discover at Plan B.

Borinquen Gallo
Burning in Water

Motivated by her cross-cultural, multinational upbringing, Borinquen Gallo—born to a Puerto Rican mother and an Italian

father in Rome—makes work that references her growing up in the Bronx while holding on to memories of her early childhood in Italy. Utilizing police caution tape, web construction tarps, plastic bags, and tablecloths from neighborhood bodegas, the New York artist makes vine-like wall hangings ($12,000 each) and installations that comment strikingly on urban culture. Likewise, Gallo’s hubcap sculptures ($1,500 each, $7,000 for the set of eight on view) use found materials—discarded aluminum auto rims and architectural molds filled with Bondo—which she assembles and spray-paints silver to turn one man’s trash into another’s treasure.

Photo courtesy of Hyperallergic.

Photo courtesy of Hyperallergic.


Moving into the next room in the gallery space, Borinquen Gallo’s two large scale works in the corner, “Deadly Poppy Field” (2016) and “Green Unplugged” (2016) immediately caught my eyes, again with their bright colors and vast physical presence. Gallo takes “reconstituted street materials” such as yellow and red caution tape, plastic bags, and debris netting to construct pieces that the press release describe as “fragmentary physical embodiments of her external environment in the Bronx.” I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of caution tape with what look like flowers and greenery, intermixing beauty and underlying danger.


Deborah Brown: This dream and other animals
Burning in Water, 505 West 27th Street
Through March 30, 2019

Focusing on a lone female figure traversing the landscape in the nude, Deborah Brown paints a fearless protagonist into a variety of natural settings. Wielding a sword, the character inhabits the spirit of the biblical figure Judith, who, having her enemy weakened by his desire for her, was able to behead him. Wandering through the woods, she takes on the persona of Artemis, the Olympian goddess of the hunt, the moon and chastity. Dogs play a big part in accompanying the heroine as she scouts the woods and finds repose on wild beaches. The strangest scenes, however, show the naked character climbing rocks and scaling cliffs with an untethered determination to reach great heights. Composed in a quick, brushy manner, the canvases tell the tale of a hermetic figure that’s not unlike an artist in the studio, where imagination sets the stage for an environment that must be walked alone, or possibly with the comfort of a canine companion.

“Purgatory” by Jesse Krimes. Photo courtesy of Paper Magazine.

“Purgatory” by Jesse Krimes. Photo courtesy of Paper Magazine.

Jesse Krimes and Russell Craig speak with Paper Magazine about their experience co-curating a Chelsea art exhibit for previously incarcerated artists. The two artists also speak frankly about the United States’ prison system and the racially biased “war on drugs”. They proactively use their niche platform to highlight the damages of mass incarceration and what society can do to change it.


WE ARE SOZE: Experience the world of “The O.G.”, starring Jeffrey Wright, through the eyes of formerly incarcerated artists.

The “O.G.” group exhibition, co-curated by gallery artist Jesse Krimes and artist Russell Craig, features a stunning selection of work by formerly-incarcerated artists. The exhibition coincides with the debut of the HBO film “O.G.” starring the Emmy and Tony award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright. Hosted by HBO, the “O.G.” group show is on view at 525 West 24th St. in New York through February 25.

Still Life with Watermelon, Peaches and Crows  2013

Still Life with Watermelon, Peaches and Crows


“For others, it is also a vivid medium in which to depict decay and decomposition. The Brooklyn-based Valerie Hegarty, 51, whose work explores the process of ruin, has used papier-mâché in installations that depict crows pecking apart 19th-century-style still lifes.“



“A new exhibit at Studio 525 in Chelsea called “The O.G. Experience” exclusively features artwork created by formerly incarcerated artists.

Co-curators and artists Russell Craig and Jesse Krimes join us to discuss the show. Craig and Krimes are also the co-chairs of the Right of Return fellowship, which invests in formerly incarcerated artists, supporting the creation of original works produced in partnership with advocates and organizers to further criminal justice reform efforts.”


Krimes, a co-curator for the exhibit, partners up with other formerly incarcerated artists to tell their stories of perseverance through art where they take control of their own narrative in the unique gallery show at Studio 525 in Chelsea.

The show is accompanied by the upcoming HBO film “O.G.,” which delves into the societal impact of incarceration.


Deborah Brown’s solo show “This dream and other animals” featured in Design Arts Daily.


“Deborah Brown: This dream and other animals” at Burning in Water

Deborah Brown’s bold female nudes exist in the wild, often accompanied by faithful canine companions as they traverse swampy forests and sandy deserts. Her fearless figures, effortlessly wielding heavy swords or scaling craggy rock faces, are imbued with myth and heroism, with titles at times referencing the biblical Judith and the goddess Diana.

Valerie Hegarty Bloom and Gloom NY Times

Everything in Valerie Hegarty’s exhibition “Bloom and Gloom,” at Burning in Water, looks as if it is broken, dead or falling apart. A ceramic relief of a rosebush is cracked all over; the sculptures are pots filled with drooping flowers; and wall works made from paper and paint (among other materials) have peeled, crumbled and dripped. In some cases, piles of scraps have pooled on the floor below, seeming evidence of the fatal conspiring of the passage of time and human neglect.

All these pieces were meticulously crafted by Ms. Hegarty, who has made an art practice of exploring the imaginative possibilities of decay. In the past, she has used her techniques to challenge the romantic legacy of whitewashed American history; here, the subject matter is more personal. The paper works represent parts of walls from her life, including one in her mother’s bedroom. The ceramic flowers are mostly tulips in reference to 17th-century Dutch vanitas paintings, but it’s easy to imagine them as houseplants that couldn’t survive the harshness of life in New York City.

“Bloom and Gloom” is a dark show. Ms. Hegarty’s rendering of her bathroom walls with the rot so fully in command offers an intimately dystopian vision. Yet the artworks also contain beauty — as in the gray-black luster that coats “Charred Tulips” (all works are from 2018) — and inspire wonder, as at the edges of “Boarded Up Window, Brooklyn,” where Ms. Hegarty has painstakingly blended an illusory derelict wall with the gallery’s pristine one. The care she takes with her acts of creation suggests a distinct approach to rot: Rather than fear it, she considers what it can teach us about ourselves. 


Artforum: Donald Kuspit on Oliver Lee Jackson

-Donald Kuspit

An eclectic mix of paintings and sculptures by Oliver Lee Jackson was exhibited at Burning in Water. … Jackson’s show was a modest sampling from a lifetime of production by an imagination still going strong (a major retrospective of the artist’s work is scheduled to open next March at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC). All the pieces on view were infused with a broad modernist spirit. One could locate subtle references to an assortment of forebears, such as Klee, Kandinsky, Pollock, and Picasso. … Yet Jackson’s vision is singular: A cunning handling of materials pushed the works well beyond formal quotation or clichéd distortion. … The artist creates a palpable tension by merging his particular stripe of formalism with his politics—it’s what gives his works their inner grandeur, a revelatory beauty.

TL Magazine: 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair


The Founding Director of 1-54, Touria El Glaoui, commented: “The growth and popularity of the fair is a real testament to the shift away from Euro-centric art-historical narratives.”

Of the 43 exhibitors, 11 galleries will be welcomed to the London fair for the first time: ADN Galeria, Art Bärtschi & Cie,Burning in Water, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Gallery Nosco, HUBERTY & BREYNE GALLERY, James Cohan, Kristin Hjellegjerde, Loft Art Gallery, MOVART Gallery, Retro Africa and Yossi Milo Gallery.

Esther Mahlangu 1-54 Booth

Year after year, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair has reinforced its foremost place in the global discussion of contemporary African Art.  In numbers, 1-54 will represent more than 130 artists, 42 galleries, 11 solo shows, and 33 countries. Eleven of those 42 galleries will also be first-timers: ADN GaleriaArt Bärtschi & CieBurning in WaterGalerie Nathalie ObadiaGallery NoscoHUBERTY & BREYNE GALLERYJames CohanKristin HjellegjerdeLoft Art Gallery, MOV’ART GalleryRetro Africa, and Yossi Milo Gallery.

Photo © Katrina Sorrentino, Courtesy 1-54 Fair

Photo © Katrina Sorrentino, Courtesy 1-54 Fair

About 25 percent of the galleries are dedicating their entire booths to one artist. Eleven are presenting solo exhibitions featuring the following artists: Addis Gezehagn (Addis Fine Art), Omar Ba (Art Bärtschi & Cie), Marion Boehm (ARTCO Gallery), Paul Onditi (ARTLabAfrica), Atta Kwami (Beardsmore Gallery), Esther Mahlangu(Burning in Water), Wonga Mancoba (Galerie Mikael Anderson), Youssef Nabil (Galerie Nathalie Obadia), Anton Kannemeyer (Huberty & Breyne Gallery), Ailou Diack ((S)ITOR/Sitor Senghor) and Mongezi Ncaphayi (SMAC).


“I am really looking forward to Burning in Water as they are presenting a solo exhibition of work by Esther Mahlangu,” adds Touria El Glaoui, founder and fair director. “Esther Mahlangu is a South African artist whose work is based on long-standing traditional Ndebele wall painting and beadwork.”


Burning in Water will debut its new gallery space with the work of Jesse Krimes, who created a massive 39-piece mural, one section at a time from scavenged art supplies while serving a six-year prison sentence. His new work, created since his release, are sculptures and installations created based on the results of Google image search queries and attempting to map the algorithmic networks behind the search engine.

507 West 27th Street; September 13–November 3, 2018, opening reception 6 –8 p.m.


ARTNEWS: Burning in Water Gallery to Open Two More Spaces in New York

- Alex Greenberger


Following news of plans to open a San Francisco outpost, Burning in Water gallery has once again expanded its operation, this time in New York, where it has been based since it opened in 2015. The gallery announced today that it will inaugurate two more spaces in New York shortly, both of them located in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood, at 507 West 27th Street.

The new gallery spaces will be a block away from Burning in Water’s 10th Avenue gallery, and will add more than 5,000 square feet of exhibition space. They are part of the freshly inaugurated High Line Nine building, which was designed by the firm Studio MDA with galleries in mind. (Burning in Water’s two new spaces will be separated by those of other galleries also located within the building.)

The first show held at West 27th Street, next door to Kasmin gallery’s soon-to-open fourth gallery space, will be a Jesse Krimes solo outing feature new sculptures, installations, and mobiles by the Philadelphia-based artist. That exhibition, which will span both new spaces, kicks off on September 13.

Burning in Water first opened in 2015 in New York, and has since gone on to show such artists as Valerie Hegarty, Borinquen Gallo, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Elizabeth Catlett, and Serge Attukwei Clottey.



From September 22–30, the NYCLU's pop-up dubbed the Museum of Broken Windows will set up shop in Greenwich Village. The installation will feature works from artists and activists across the country, all revolving around the “ineffectiveness of broken windows policing, which criminalizes our most vulnerable communities,” organizers noted in a press release. 

Artists featured at the pop-up include Molly Crabapple, Jesse Krimes, Dread Scott, Hank Willis Thomas and Jordan Webber.

The museum will be open at 9 W 8th St from September 22–30, and entry is completely free. Head to the NYCLU's website for more information as it becomes available.


TIME OUT NEW YORK: Oliver Lee Jackson: Untitled Original


This show is Jackson’s first in New York in 25 years, and showcases prints, paintings and sculpture that straddle the line between abstraction and figuration. Based in Oakland since the 1980’s, Jackson, born 1935, initially emerged during the mid-’60s in St Louis, where he was affiliated with the seminal Black Artists Group (BAG), an interdisciplinary organization that promoted the work of African-American musicians, performers and artists.

Photo by Katrina Sorrentino / Courtesy 1-54 New York

Photo by Katrina Sorrentino / Courtesy 1-54 New York

Newcomer at 1-54, the New York gallery Burning in Water detonated with the pink walls of its booth and a nod to art history: the original drawings of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré dialogued with the embroidery of the Italian Alighiero Boetti, star of Arte Povera and friend of the Ivorian painter. Behind this cheeky choice, the connoisseurs recognized a reference to an iconic exhibition held in 1995 at the Dia: Chelsea in New York. The only time Bruly Bouabré was exposed in the United States during his lifetime.

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"This uplifting show by the African-American artist, who died in 2012, at the age of ninety-six, traces the evolution of her streamlined forms and her focus on women as subjects over seven decades. Think of this superb, small selection as an amuse-bouche for the major museum retrospective that, as the art world belatedly catches up to overlooked brilliant women, is all but inevitable."

HYPERALLERGIC: Revisiting Elizabeth Catlett’s Legacy in 12 Powerful Sculptures

-Robin Scher

Elizabeth Catlett-Wake up in Glory

"The formidable sculptor Elizabeth Catlett is having her first solo exhibition in New York City since her debut at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1971. The show, at Burning in Water, is aptly titled Wake Up in Glory.

Catlett, who died at the age of 96 in 2012, had an impressive and successful six-decade career. But while her work has been exhibited at major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, her art is only beginning to receive the deeper attention it deserves."


-Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

"The sculptures here are wholly indicative of Catlett’s breadth, ranging from the powerfully figurative, such as Political Prisoner, 1971, a bronze of a woman standing with her hands tied behind her, leaning back as if to scream, to the mesmerizingly abstract Magic Mask, 1970–80, a smooth, oblong, anthropomorphic piece with five large circles carved through the wood."


"At New York's Burning in Water gallery, the late artist's sculptural work practically bursts off its plinths.  

Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) has quite a legacy, and Burning in Water‘s show gives a look at just how vital her interest in sculpture was, with examples from 1946 all the way up to 2010."


"What will Catlett’s legacy e s an artist? 'Elizabeth Catlett’s art,' art historian Melanie Anne Herzog wrote, 'cries out in protest, proclaims solidarity, celebrates survival.' Though she wielded a bold indictment of injustice, Catlett portrayed her subjects (almost always African American women) as heros rather than victims. For Catlett, there was no distinction between her convictions and her artwork."


ARTNET NEWS: Editors’ Picks: 18 Things to See in New York This Week

-Sarah Cascone


"Pioneering African-American feminist artist Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012) gets her first solo show in New York since her 1971 outing at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The exhibition will feature both prints and sculptures from the politically minded artist, who was influenced by everything from the Harlem Renaissance and Pre-Columbian and African art to European Modernism and American Regionalism."


"'Borinquen Gallo: Like a Jungle Orchid for a Lovestruck Bee' at Burning in Water 
Bronx-based Puerto Rican-Italian artist Borinquen Gallo painstakingly weaves red and yellow caution tape, construction tarps, garbage bags, and other unconventional materials into richly textured sculptures and installations. It’s a process that can take weeks or even months."


"Pictures at an Exhibition presents images of one notable show every weekday.

Today’s show: “Borinquen Gallo: Like a Jungle Orchid for a Lovestruck Bee” is on view at Burning in Water in New York through Saturday, November 18. The exhibition is the artist’s first solo presentation in New York."


Artforum:  "Critics' Pick" 

-Heidi Harrington-Johnson

"Rotting, wounded, smiling--watermelons in Valerie Hegarty's latest exhibition of paintings and sculptures--are depicted as sentient objects: carnal, threatening. Several wedges of the fruit, done in ceramics, rest on a plinth, their pink flesh resembling gums and growing teeth, tongues, ribs, stalagmites, barnacles."




ARTnews: "Americana Gone a Bit Weird" 

                               -Robin Scher

"I am always interested in talking about transformation," Hegarty said one recent afternoon in her studio in midtown Manhattan, surrounded by a sinister set of anthropomorphic fruits-- tooth-filled watermelons rinds, spinal carrot carcasses and some Arcimboldo-style faces. The pieces are a morbid answer to kitschy centerpieces of yesteryear, now robbed of their evergreen freshness."


"[Art Basel Miami] features works by several artists working in the same vein...that is, making figurative ceramic work that plays with scale and tone, or that uses the handcrafted medium to imbue typically inanimate objects with inner life. [A] shining example of this approach are the playful food sculptures by Valerie Hegarty that are on view in Miami gallery Locust Projects' booth."


"Valerie Hegarty frequently addresses topics from American history, borrowing imagery from quintessentially American genres...but then re-imagines the subjects from her own singular perspective. [Her] watercolors suggest a fevered, hallucinatory vision of America through the prism of its artistic visual traditions...The works are simultaneously macabre, funny and provocative."



"[Hegarty's] work is topical, as it is informed by the 'current turbulent state of our country while also excavating from America's past.' What we're seeing here couldn't be described as decay, as such, but her work seems to have a theme of the gooey-ness of information, of shared knowledge. We live in a post-fact society and consensus validation is gospel. That, of course, leads to strange distortions of the truth--things that resemble fact, but are wholly alien to reality."





"Both works [by Jesse Krimes] are stunning: Purgatory--especially as displayed, on a long shelf with the cards against a black wall--because necessity made it so original, and heaven-and-earth Apokaluptein because its as good as Rauschenberg's similar works and, perhaps, more heartfelt and lyrical."




The New Yorker: "Jesse Krimes"

"A tapestry on prison-issued bedsheets--a weird, oneiric landscape festooned with faeries, fields, and images transferred from prison copies of the New York Times and Artforum. Pictures of Rihanna and Taylor Swift, not to mention an ad for a Christie's Sale, assume a mournful character as absurdist totems of freedom while enduring Draconian punishment."


The Wall Street Journal: "An Artist's Secret Life Behind Bars." 

-Ellen Gamerman

"The exhibition's centerpiece is a work...that Mr. Krimes made while at a federal prison in Fairton, NJ. He created a 39 panel mural on white prison bed sheets...The artist took photos from newspapers and magazines and transferred them onto the sheets using hair-gel to lift the image and a plastic spoon to rub the image onto the sheet. He then drew and painted his own figures onto the works. The panels move from heave to hell and feature a riot of images whose subjects range from Hurricane Sandy to Taylor Swift, from Jean Michel-Basquiat to Chanel." 



"The centerpiece of the exhibition is a sculpture by artist Valerie Hegarty, Return to the Catskills. An amalgamation of canvas, paint and moss, the piece is nature-art hybridity depicting a moss-covered tree (and a small woodpecker) devouring a painting. Malin says that the piece 'directly attacks the idea of the landscape that exists outside the ravages of time and the impact of society.'"