Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Grand Cypher: Hip Hop, Iran & Syria curated by Julie Ashcraft Rush Arts Gallery / April 24 - May 24, 2014

The Grand Cypher: Hip Hop, Iran & Syria curated by Julie Ashcraft


 Rush Arts Gallery / April 24 - May 24, 2014

Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea is pleased to announce the opening of The Grand Cypher: Hip Hop, Iran & Syria group exhibition featuring the work of Tammam Azzam, Alonzo Brown (the original Mr. Hyde), Caitlin Cherry, Aline Dolinh, Farid Farlek, Humans of Tehran artists collective, Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi, Immortal Technique, Jenny Holzer, Kinetics, Kim Noble, Shahpour Pouyan, Rakim, Sadra Shahab, Elias Shalhoub, Sham MCs, Spiritual Mic, Siavash Talaei (Sis Tan), Francis A. Willey, and Ehsan Ziya (Atour). The opening party is April 24 from 6-8pm at 526 West 26th Street, Suite 311, New York, NY 10001. This exhibition continues through May 24, 2014. An ARTIST TALK will be held Saturday May 10th 3-5pm which is free and open to the public.

For inquiries please contact Julie Ashcraft 914-573-4823 -

This exhibition explores the geostrategic and cultural diplomacy aspects of hip-hop by bringing together visual artworks and handwritten verses by Iranian and Syrian youths, rising stars of the international art world, and inspiring American, British and Canadian artists and poets. In the accompanying catalog essay, Julie Ashcraft begins, "Chosen for authentic intensity, magnetic beauty and frank content that aligns it with the innate spirit of hip-hop, the artworks in this exhibition combine keen perception with resourceful transcendence." Shahpour Pouyan combines night vision Iraq war video with Hudson River School painting aesthetics. Caitlin Cherry ponders the future of security in her blockbuster painting featuring a giant robot, police cars and lone humanoid figure practicing martial arts. Tammam Azzam alludes to the soft power of music versus armed warfare in his limited edition print. Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi's vivid paintings contrast Persian motifs with amorphous clouds of color as free speech and information wars engage megaphones and satellite dishes. Farid Farlek addresses appearances versus underlying reality in his assumption-busting digital collages. Elias Shalhoub illuminates the disruptive influence of hip hop upon the grand chessboard in his digital artwork. Francis A. Willey creates an iconic photo of a blindfolded figure which may trigger memories of hostages, detainment or consenting intimate encounters. Ehsan Ziya (Atour)'s documentary photos and portraits present glimpses into the underground world of conscious Hip Hop in Iran, and his recent digital artworks grant entry into the abstract beauty of his heart and mind. Photographs Sadra Shahab took in von King Park, Brooklyn are a natural extension of his support for public assembly, public spaces and human rights. Humans of Tehran's photo of young female skateboarders in Tehran is a heartening reminder that we may have more in common than we realize.  Kim Noble's painting explores personal identity from the unique perspective of a multiple. Siavash Talaei (Sis Tan)'s montage of self portraits creates a circle of men seated under a night sky in the desert who look towards the one whose face is illuminated by the glow of a laptop computer. The catalog essay continues, "Official lines of communication are sometimes superceded in influence by grassroots Hip-hop culture. Revered verses in the Hip Hop canon inspire youths in areas targeted by kinetic and economic warfare to contribute their own incisive commentary reflecting the ways that foreign and domestic policies and international cartels have impacted their personal lives. The music videos from Iran, Syria and America (some of them released at great personal risk) plus documentary photographs included in this exhibition provide insight into the abilities of the artists to recognize objective reality while at the same time making history and charting a course for the future." Video directors include Elias Shalhoub, Farzan and Fred; cinematographers include Alireza Etemadi.

Handwritten Persian, Arabic and English rap verses on paper in this exhibition are contemporary poetic artworks. Rakim initiates his foray into the artworld with a large painting he's creating based on "Paid in Full." Verses in this exhibition reflect history. Rakim mentions Ayatollah Khomeini; Immortal Technique references Zoraster, Ahura Mazda, and U.S.-supplied WMD; Kinetics compares inept rappers to hikers arrested inside the Iranian border; Sham MCs and Spiritual Mic record the shock of war in Syria, what it's doing to their society, why it's happening and people they've lost; Alonzo Brown (the original Mr. Hyde) is the founding father of political rap with his 1980 verse on "Rappers Convention" about the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran. An immigrant child from a military family, 2013 National Student Poet Aline Dolinh adds her own perspective on revolution and beauty.

About the Curator: Julie Ashcraft (Jigsawnovich) is a New York based curator, writer, artist and musician who traveled Iran in 2009. Her articles, news and poems have been published by Rolling Stone Middle East, New Musical Express, New In Chess, Yahoo Voices and Lungfull. She was the first female to make a rap record in Europe. It's in the Cornell Hip Hop Collection. Her artworks have been published in books Definition: The Art and Design of Hip Hop and Fresh: Hip Hop Don't Stop; and in VOGUE and Decco magazines. She curated The Jim Jones Group Show at Alternate Gallery in Dallas, TX.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Painted Portraits - Corridor Gallery March 30th - May 18th 2014


Rush Arts is pleased to present a group exhibition of contemporary portraits on view at Corridor Gallery, 334 grand Ave, Brooklyn, NY.   Taha Clayton, Kate Fauvell, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Jas Knight, and Sylvia Maier are contemporary portrait painters working in Brooklyn, NY. These works are  painted portraits of people around us in our everyday lives.

The genre of portrait painting has a rich and deep history. Often portraits were commissioned by rich patrons to remember historical moments or to capture a likeness of an esteemed individual. With a bourgeois history, oil painted portraits were a classic way for artists to have careers, and for the wealthy to be commemorated through a timeless medium. 

Painted Portraits at Corridor Gallery the contemporary portrait is examined and celebrated, of every day people that are commemorated for being in the lives of the artists.

Taha Clayton is a self taught artist residing in Brooklyn raised in Toronto, ON and born in Houston, TX. His highly rendered portraits are not only detailed portraits of people in his life and community, but a statement about our community as a city. He brings together social and political issues, spiritual virtues and above all the portraits are painted with a universal love that is seen through his technical abilities and poetic compositions. The portrait of the artist’s pregnant wife titled “Womb Man” exudes his love as a husband and a father, capturing her in glorified confidence. (above image on invite)

Kate Fauvell, born and raised in Queens, NY and currently living and working in Brooklyn paints from the heart as she says “about the heart of NYC, the greatest, roughest, most caring and careless city in the world.” For the past several years Fauvell has been a mentor for an intimate group of urban youth. She has re-experienced childhood with the group feeling the “fear, challenges, loss, inequalities, racism, fun, friendships, love, hate, violence, temptations, reality, jokes, and the search for self.” Her large group portraits are of the young people she mentors. Painted with an expressionist sensibility the paintings are raw portraits of being a contemporary urban youth. (above, Kate Fauvell The Last Day of Summer)


Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
is an African-American and Iranian artist originally from Oklahoma. She has recently been acclaimed for her project Stop Telling Women To Smile which has had a national presence. Her paintings are heartfelt portraits both of herself and people in relaxed situation in her life. The painting of “James” seems mid thought in intense conversation. Fazlalizadeh’s self portraits capture her strength as a woman which is also what sparked the Stop Telling Women to Smile project. (above, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, James)


Jas Knight, from Bloomfield, CT and now also living in Brooklyn, NY, received his BFA at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. Knight strives to be as honest in his paintings as possible, which lead him to detailed rendering to be as universal as possible through the visual aesthetic language. His contemporary portrait Inbox 1 could be a window into any person checking their email, the gold gilded frame elevates the message by nodding to traditional portrait painting and saying hello from 21st C Brooklyn. (above, Jas Knight, Madonna)

Sylvia Maier,
a native New Yorker who lives and paints in Brooklyn, paints life size figurative works in urban settings. Inspired by cultural identities, ceremonies, tolerance, and her bi-racial heritage Maier brings universal messages to her large group portrait paintings and intimate embraces of couples. Her inspirational models include; an urban African Priest, Afro-punk musicians, hand drummers in parks, and the many friends and family members that make Brooklyn’s unique tapestry. Her ongoing project Currency was recently highlighted at the Corridor Gallery Project Space in 2013. (above, Sylvia Maier, initiation)

Corridor Gallery is located at 334 Grand Ave, Brooklyn, NY gallery hours are Friday-Saturday 12-6pm and by appointment. For inquiries about Painted Portraits please email Charlotte Mouquin – or call Corridor Gallery 718-230-5002.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Namesake Series by Qiana Mestrich

Opening Reception, Sunday March 30th, 4-6pm
Artist Talk, Sunday April 13th, 4-6pm moderated by Renee Cox

Rush Arts is pleased to present the works of Qiana Mestrich in the Corridor Gallery Project SpaceQiana Mestrich was selected from the 2013 artists submissions.  The Namesake Series explores the original meaning of "Qiana" as a nylon textile that is a cheaper alternative to silk, and explores the prison systems cataloging of arrests through mugshots. This concept explores our social history, consumerism, advertising and racial profiling through the blurred photograph in The Namesake Series.

Qiana Mestrich
Exhibition Statement

A selection of twenty-­five portraits made from mugshots of predominantly "Black" and "Hispanic" women named Qiana, including myself. All of us were named after a synthetic polymer (nylon) manufactured by the global chemical company DuPont.

Founded in 1802, DuPont began as a manufacturer of gunpowder and during the American Civil War (1861-­1865) supplied half the gunpowder used by the Union Army. Due to political tensions with Japan in the 1930s, the United States could no longer procure silk (one of the strongest natural fibers) which was coveted for its domestic, industrial and commercial purposes. In the search for an alternative, DuPont invented nylon in 1935. First used in toothbrushes, nylon made its more fashionable debut at the 1939 World's Fair in the form of women's stockings.

Introduced in 1968, "Qiana" was a cheaper alternative to silk yet just as luxurious and required no ironing. The fabric was used to manufacture clothing and accessories popular in the disco era, like "butterfly collar" shirts for men and the infamous DVF wrap dress. The name "Qiana" was created by "a computerized combination of random letters" and reached its height as a popular baby girl name in 1978. It continues to be a popular name within the African-­American community.

It was an essay by historian, critic and photographer Allan Sekula titled "The Body and the Archive" (1986) that led me to further investigate what my connection might be to a group of incarcerated women also named Qiana that I discovered one night during a Google Image search on my first name. Performing that search multiple times in 2012, I've gathered close to fifty mugshots of women named Qiana. Yes there were other women named Qiana whose images were not mugshots, but those “selfies” intended for social media didn't hold my attention.

As presumed criminals these women had no control over images of them in their weakest moments being posted online for what could be eternity. I wanted to know how these women who had such a unique name could succumb to whatever circumstances would usher them into the penal system? Why were the majority of these women identified as women of color, mostly African American? Finally, how could I use the medium of photography (from which the mugshot and the inhumane act of profiling was born) to investigate the strong pull I felt from these seemingly tenuous connections?

Artist Bio
Qiana Mestrich is a photo-based visual artist and writer from Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of the ICP-Bard College MFA in Advanced Photographic Practice, her autobiographical work establishes a study of heritage within complex and convoluted visual histories. 

She is the founder of Dodge & Burn: Diversity in Photography History, a blog which profiles photographers of color. In 2012, Qiana Mestrich co-edited (with fellow ICP-Bard alumna Michi Jigarjian) How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood (Secretary Press), a book about and by contemporary artist mothers. 

Sonia Louise Davis: Selections at Corridor Gallery March 30th - May 17th 2014

 Sonia Louise Davis: selections

Opening Reception, Sunday March 30th, 4-6pm
Artist Talk, Sunday April 13th, 4-6pm

Rush Arts is pleased to present the works of Sonia Louise Davis in the Corridor Gallery Project Space.  Sonia Louise Davis was selected from the 2013 artists submissions, and we are thrilled to be exhibiting a collection of her photographs in Sonia Louise Davis: selections. These intimate still lives are reflections of time and space seen through a personal nostalgia celebrating the everyday, and the intimacy of objects.  

Sonia Louise Davis 
Artist Statement
"tracing(s) belonging(s)" is an ongoing site-specific investigation. Over the past few years I have been making images in and about Harlem with a 4×5 monorail camera. I’m drawn to the physical shooting process, moving slowly through the streets around my apartment I attempt to weave my own story into the visual fabric of my neighborhood. I take Harlem as my subject and context, and my practice is both documentary and autobiographical. Drawing on collective memory and family history, I’m interested in framing the personal past in this mythic and everyday place.

The objects featured in the still-lives belonged to my grandparents and hold personal sentimental value. As temporary constructions on the streets of Harlem, they become physical reminders of the legacies of the past as well as absent portraits of sitters long gone. The documentary street images provide context, surrounding staged scenes with anti-landmarks, forgotten storefronts and mid-block bursts of color. These lonely cityscapes balance the intimate moments made and captured by my camera. I see this body of work as a way to pay my respects to the important people in my life who have passed and to a historic neighborhood in the midst of massive change. It is my attempt to preserve local histories and pay homage to Harlem’s rich cultural past with an eye towards the future.

Sonia Louise Davis
Born and raised in New York City, Sonia Louise Davis is an honors graduate of Wesleyan University. She has exhibited artwork and facilitated projects in traditional galleries and local community spaces throughout New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut and in Chicago. Sonia participated in the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, was a Residency Unlimited Artist-in-Residence at the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, and a Create Change Fellow at the Laundromat Project. She has exhibited her work with En Foco and is a grantee of the Puffin Foundation and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Sonia lives and works in Harlem.

For Inquiries contact gallery director Charlotte Mouquin

Corridor Gallery
334 Grand Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Gallery Hours
Friday - Saturday 12-6pm
also by appointment. 

Breathless curated by Kristin Sancken and House of the Nobleman at RUSH Arts Gallery



Breathless, on view Feb. 27th - April 11th 2014, is an extraordinary exhibition brought to Rush Arts Gallery by House of the Nobleman.  Guest curator Kristin Sancken was selected from the 2013 curator submissions, she is currently one of the Directors at House of the Nobleman which is how the high end artist advisory firm partnered with Rush Arts Gallery to bring this wild show to Rush Arts Gallery.  House of the Nobleman has recently opened offices in New York and this is the largest group exhibition they have put together so far.  

This full exhibition bring together the works of 25 artists working in all mediums, from drawing, painting, collage, photography, to installation and taxidermy.  Along side established artist such as the majestic collages resin and tempered glass blocks by Dustin Yellin, the slick works of Fred Tomaselli, and the bejeweled trophy heads of Marc Swanson, are works by emerging artists that should be on your watch list.  A beaded rorschach cow hide by Rachel Frank (found through 2013 Rush Arts artist submissions, and recently shown in Signs of Life at Corridor Gallery) greets you at the entrance of the gallery.  A group of squirrels by Carson Fox greets the viewer in the center of the gallery.  Drawings by Joey Parlett depict animal sandwiches not to be missed next to a cabinet of curiosities filled with small sculptural works.  Do not miss the fierce and fabulous feathered heels on the bottom shelf by Divya Anantharaman. Three pieces by Hugh Hayden (also found through Rush Artist submissions in 2011, and exhibited at Corridor Gallery in 2012) are spread out in the gallery space, from the subtle driftwood and feather bird sculpture to an audubon style watercolor with collage feather elements, to the large braided white mountain goat on a stack of cinder blocks in the back room. 

Breathless will leave you breathless as you walk into the wild with Rush Arts Gallery and House of the Nobleman.  View our video with Kristen Sancken about the show below, and find the complete press release below.

For more information on the works contact Kristin Sancken -


Rush Arts Gallery
526 West 26th Street, #311
New York, NY 10011
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6 pm


February 27th- April 11th, 2014
Opening reception: Thursday, February 27th, 6-8 pm

Featuring works by Divya Anantharaman, Charles Browning, Jennifer Catron + Paul Outlaw, Julia Colavita, Ken Currie, Jane Edden, Rachel Frank, Carson Fox, Amit Greenberg, Jane Hammond, Hugh Hayden, Aubrey Learner, Jackie Mock, Joey Parlett, Amanda Sciullo, Andrea Stanislav, Marc Swanson, Philip Taaffe, Fred Tomaselli, Chris Vicini, Paul Villinski, Adam Wallacavage, and Kimberly Witham.

NEW YORK, NY - HOUSE OF THE NOBLEMAN is pleased to present Breathless, a group exhibition based on a contemporary examination of artists who turn once-living creatures into inanimate aesthetic objects. Through various media, including taxidermy, painting, drawing, embroidery, and sculpture, the works in this exhibition re-contextualize the scientific into an
artistic observation where the grotesque is upheld as an object of beauty. When viewed from this vantage, natural history is seen as a craft or practice in which emphasis is placed on the existential experience of the observer rather than the scientific characteristics of the objects or organisms. Even though breathless, the works in this exhibition maintain characteristics of being alive, achieving their immortality by becoming art.

Sales from this exhibition will help support Rush Arts Gallery, a core program of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny, and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons. Rush Arts Gallery is dedicated to providing exhibition opportunities to an emerging artistic community and exposes urban youth to contemporary arts and culture through educational programming initiatives.

For further inquiries please contact:
Kristin Sancken
Director, House of the Nobleman New York

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SUBMISSIONS Rush Arts Gallery and Corridor Gallery

Rush Gallery and Corridor Gallery exhibition programs seeks to facilitate a contemporary dialogue between new audiences and emerging artists, curators and writers through thematically structured group exhibitions.  A team of artists and curators reviews submissions annually. 

In the past few years we have had solo exhibitions of Allison Janae Hamilton, Sophia Dawson, Johnny Mattei, Sylvia Maier, Jason Florio, Christina Massey and Maureen Kelleher at the Corridor Gallery Project Space all found through our gallery submissions.  Artists have also been included in our group exhibitions throughout the year.  Most recently Signs of Life was guest curated by Richard Burroughs with Gallery Director Charlotte Mouquin and inspired from the 2013 gallery submissions.

The gallery offers an excellent opportunity for independent curators to realize their projects in an established venue that makes innovative contributions to the contemporary art world.   Throughout the season we also work with guest curators.  Currently at Corridor Gallery Dreaming Reality was guet curated by Sabrina Y Smith.  Coming up in Spring 2014 Breathless will be guest curated by Kristen Sancken and The House of the Nobleman at Rush Arts Gallery Feb. 27th - April 11th 2014. 

Rush Arts Gallery & Corridor Gallery

Gallery Submissions 
Open - Feb. 15th - April 15th 2014

Please submit the following information in one, multi-page PDF via email.  Please indicate ARTIST SUBMISSION or CURATORIAL SUBMISSION in the subject of the email.  Please title the attachment in the following way:



eg. - JONES.ArtistSub.jan.2011.pdf or SMITH.Cuatorialsub.jan.2011.pdf

Each PDF should contain the following:

Artist Submission: (Rush Gallery & Project Space, Corridor Gallery & Project Space)
- Contact Information
- Artist Resume
- Artist Statement
- 4-6 images which include the medium, title, and dimensions.

Curatorial Submissions: (Rush Gallery & Project Space, Corridor Gallery & Project Space)
- Contact Information
- Curatorial Resume including past exhibitions
- Curatorial Statement about proposed exhibit and what venue it is intended for.
- Images of Art which include Artist, Medium, Title, Dimensions
- Artist Bio / Exhibition History synopsis of each artist included

Direct your submission to - 
Please indicate ARTIST SUBMISSION or CURATORIAL SUBMISSION in the subject of the email

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Social Art Project

It is our pleasure to share with you the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Social Art Project.

This social media art project is an excellent way to share your favorite artists and art sightings.  A great place to see art now is at Rush Arts Gallery and Corridor Gallery for our current exhibitions include Drawn Truly, Dreaming Reality, and I Kan Do Dat.

The directions are simple, upload your art image to INSTAGRAM and use the hash-tag #SapphireArt.  While your on instagram make sure you follow RUSHandCORRIDORgallery to see our images of recent events.

By being involved with the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Social Art Project you also have the opportunity to win some amazing prizes !  Every month Bombay Sapphire will be giving away a Lemography Camera to 2 monthly winners that get the most likes on Instagram.  The final grand prize will be 2 tickets to Russell Simmons' 15th Annual Art For Life Benefit Gala which supports Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which includes Rush Arts Gallery, Corridor Gallery, and our Rush Eduction programs that benefit our Rush Kids !

Visit this link to find out more information, including when the Bombay Sapphire Spring Gallery events are, more information is below. 

The same passion, quality and style used to create  BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin is what inspires us to continually celebrate the artisan spirit. Through the Artisan Series Social Art Project, we're inviting you to share & discover inspiring art from the world around us - paintings, landmarks, cityscapes and everything in between. Share with us the things that inspire you by submitting a photo on Instagram using #SapphireArt, the piece & name of the artist for a chance to win prizes as unique and extraordinary as the art itself.