Pagan revivalism is evident in underground NYC art shows this September.
A lover boy with bones of air moving through the evaporating mist after a swept through Manhattan on the evening of September 6, 2019. Red light glows from St. Ludlow – is this a mirage? No, this is Alberto H. Arsenberg’s debut solo show in NYC, “Your Kind of Person.”
A man with a dark leather jacket and two snakes on his neck parts, and behind the threshold of the door, from behind a bar, where Yerba Matte rests on the moss, the bartender (who’s descended from old American lumberjacks), for a taste for the boy, whose jingles excitement.
Dionysus, Orpheus and Apollo, themselves, seem to be playing on drums, spitting through a saxophone and languidly strumming a jazz guitar.
It is the fool’s notion; the shaman’s nightmare; the psychopomp’s terrific vision:
Large paintings sloshed with heavy acrylic paint, invariably scribbled and scratched-up, stack along the left and center walls.
The lover boy enjoys: mushrooms grow off a phallic-nosed man with breasts and a feathered hat. Another work features vagina birthing itself from the primordial soup.
Sweaty palms; buzzing hands and feet. His head floats 2,000 feet up. This is the Eleusinian Mystery, no?
The Function of Artist in Culture
Alberto H. Arsenberg has an innate and natural ability to see art’s function. This is so obvious, that without an artist’s statement, it is clear that Arsenberg perceives art as a dynamic mechanism within culture. Within this concept of art, “the artist” is linked to the phrase “expression and scene as a way of life.”
Debuting this year, Arsenberg’s initial statements display his understanding that painting is something that should be done spontaneously, freely – it is an activity of the artist, apart from their overall mode of living.
Every detail of his gallery presentation imbues a sense of specialness – of this particular event. This happening is a part of his own aesthetic mode of living, and his collective art conversation. In this way he understands what an “artist’s” role really is.
Admittedly, some of this may be biased, as I saw an older brother figure when I was aged 15 to 18.
Congratulations on the beginning, Berto.
In many of the canvases Arsenberg appears to be in dialogue with the painting tradition. This tact opposes the majority of erudite THE shows. Rather than engaging with formal aesthetic ideas, Arsenberg appears to be committed to documenting psychic states – the reality of psychedelic unconscious. This venture has certain undertaking of its own agreement.
“Eyesight KD” and “Birdo (Self-Portrait)” – seem to refer more to “painting” as a tradition. And so I’m interested in seeing if Berto (or, means, Alberto H. Arsenberg) will continue in this direction.
On my way out. And just down the street, a fresh find (from a temporary pop-up by Portland-based gallery, HOLDING Contemporary):
Sarah Wertzberger, exalts pagan erotism in a richly colored tapestry titled, “Dance Party USA.” This, possibly, reflective of a larger cultural experience: as our political life is being torn apart, it also seems that in certain cultural silos we are becoming increasingly polymorphous, expressive and free — and in that way ever so pagan.