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Sub-Genre is a strategic consulting company focusing on business development projects in the entertainment and cultural industries. Sub-Genre is also the film production and distribution company of Brian Newman, who serves as executive producer and/or producer on several films.

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April Art: Chelsea & LES Edition

Last week was the Upper East Side, now I’ll cover the best of what I’ve seen in Chelsea and the Lower East Side, again in order of what I liked the most. There are a bunch of new shows, and I haven’t made it to all of them, but here’s the ones I’ve liked thus far.

Vik Muniz: Album at Sikkema Jenkins through May 10

Vik Muniz, New Car, Album

Vik Muniz is one of the hotter photographers right now for good reason, and this show proves why – because he’s speaking to our culture’s pastiche-making, copying and nostalgia all at the same time through the medium, by creating collages that make up a bigger picture. His “nostalgia postcards” series stand out for their multi-color takes on iconic, now ruined sites (the WTC for example), but my favorites are the family photo album collages such as “Car” in the photo here.

Friedrich Kunath “The Temptation to Exist (May Contain Nuts)” at Andrea Rosen through April 26th

Canvases pained to resemble note-pad paper, with dreamscape images exploding from the page, all with not-so-subtle environmental apocalypse messaging and plenty of surrealistic dream touches, accompanied by rotting fruit on cat-scratch poles and vibrantly colored carpets. What more could you want?

Robert Longo, Gang of Cosmos at Metro Pictures until May 23

 

Longo re-creates 12 abstract expressionist masterpieces in B&W charcoal paintings. Detailed, very much duplicates of the originals as studied in museums and through photographs. Make sure to flip through the Longo catalogues while at the gallery, as they represent some amazing past work by the artist. Pretty and pretty nice.

Joel Otterson 1980s and 1990s at Elizabeth Dee (link is to Time Out since the gallery’s website sucks so bad)

Joel Otterson, Divine Intervention

Joel Otterson is just one half of this show with Ryan Trecartin, but steals the show with his pre-steampunk sculptures. Of course steal a show from the much over-hyped Trecartin is pretty simple, and gets simpler when you were as flash-forward thinking and fun-making as Otterson. See the show, but avoid the gallery’s website which is a disaster. Every gallery’s website makes restaurant websites look ghastly (and those are among the worst), but this one doesn’t even work.

Urs Fischer: Mermaid/Pig Bro W/Hat at Gagosian 104 Delancey St through May 23rd

Urs Fischer: Mermaid

One of two shows right now where the venue is as interesting as the art. Gagosian took over an old Chase branch on Delancey St and turned it into a gallery. It’s hard to find, still looks like a bank (with the neon Chase sign inside and out), contains the old safes and is now filled with debaucherous art from Urs Fischer and his collaborators. These clay sculptures (now bronze) were made collaboratively with 1500 other people in 2013 in California. From Mermaids to pig-fucking, yes really, you find something new in every room. Someone finally did something appropriate with the Chase brand.

Corin Hewitt: The Third Station at Laurel Gitlen, through May 11th

Hewitt’s gigantic police station/abandoned store-front sculptures are an interesting companion piece to the ongoing NSA spying disaster, and make for interesting contemplation with their surveillance cameras capturing empty-ness. Detailed work, including detritus in the back alleys remind me of former East German ruins – another state brought down (in part) by its over-zealous capturing of data. What’s real? What’s fake? Definitely topics on your mind after this exhibit.

Florian Pumhosl at Miguel Abreu through April 27th 

The art in this show is good, but the real reason to visit is to see Abreu’s new gallery in this block-long loft warehouse building. Amazing space with so much potential, and a great inaugural show. Pumhoesl is up to some cerebral art with these 12 paintings based on ancient rabbinical maps, and 6 more based on Georgian letters. Austere, minimalist and way above my head, but I believe the press release which explains it like this: “Pumhösl’s restaging of these sources exploits the threshold between the referent and the space of the image.” Yep, and what better way to investigate a new space on the artistic map.

April Art: Upper East Side Edition

Pres. George W Bush art From NYT, Brandon Thibodeaux

I didn’t have time to make it to Dallas, Texas to see George W. Bush’s new art, but I did make it to similar environs, on the Upper East Side, and caught some amazing work worth seeing in April. Without even stepping into a museum, I was able to catch multiple incredible shows, and I recommend them all (and this list is in order of awesomeness).

DAMIAN LOEB: Sol*D at Acquavella

Loeb’s paintings are masterful oil works of interstellar landscapes. Photorealism is not a pejorative here, and the back story of how he makes them (flying in innermost outer-space, using Hubble images, etc) is almost as interesting as the work itself. Seems he’s moved from quantum physics as expressed through his nude wife (!) to greater meanderings, regardless, they’re more beautiful. This one ends April 11th, so hit it soon.

RAYMOND PETTIBON: ARE YOUR MOTIVES PURE? Surfers 1985-2103 at Venus over Manhattan

Venus Over Manhattan hasn’t made a misstep with a show in the past year, they just nail it every time. This first-ever collection of all of the surfer paintings of Pettibon are a must-see. Viewing them, I was convinced he caught elements that only a surfer would notice, but alas I learned he was never a surfer though he lived off Venice beach (and neither am I, thus the mistake). But he does catch the rough, the tumble and the froth of the active ocean. I’d love to know the back-story of how his parents made both him and Greg Ginn of Black Flag…whose iconic image he made, and who he played with (as Panic) briefly. Loved his album covers (esp for Sonic Youth) and love these even more. Through May 17th.

MODERN FURIES: THE LESSONS AND LEGACY OF WORLD WAR I at Galerie St. Etienne

No one caught the horrors of war better than Otto Dix, who served on the front line trenches of WWI for four years (machine gun squad, wounded multiple times). He captured this hell in a rough style, that laid bare the realities of a war that wasn’t much reported to the public (the grisly details, that is), and this, along with his later paintings of who was taking over Germany probably led Hitler to lump him in with the Degenerate Art exhibit, and banish him off to painting landscapes for the remainder of his career (which have their own subtext and tone, worthy of serious reconsideration, but that’s another post, in the meantime, see this from Montreal and NYC a few years ago). This excellent show at Galerie St. Etienne, pairs many of his horrors from WWI with those of Beckman, Baldessari, Schiele and a handful of others, plus some war poster ephemera. At a time when world wars are starting to enter the public consciousness again as serious possibilities, this one reminds us why we should avoid them, and how artists might confront them. Through April 12th.

LYONEL FEININGER: Master Printmaker at Moeller

Moeller has been doing a series of incredible shows of Lyonel Feininger’s work lately. The last one “Ghosts” was of his watercolors, but this show of his prints, almost all woodcuts, is incredible. Considering one of his woodcuts adorned the Bauhaus Manifesto, these are worth seeing. He too was lumped in with the degenerate artists later in life, perhaps the best honor of that time period. See the Bauhaus master’s work through April 26th.

1ST 20 YEARS at Adam Baumgold

ANDRAS BOROCZ The Draftsman Series, 2002

A retrospective of the gallery’s first 20 years – Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Saul Steinberg, Lynda Barry, Marc Bell, Seth, Roger Brown, Huston Ripley, Renee French, Scott Teplin, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Mark Kostabi, Andras Borocz and 10-20 more all in one show. The whole show is one big wow. An eclectic homage to drawing, draftsmanship and graphic novels, comics and covers. I think this image from Borocz, which my wife and I would love to own if you have a spare 6K to loan us, captures the spirit of the show best – note the pencil case around the work. This one has a bit of everything, and is fun enough to stick around for awhile, through May 3rd.

URS FISCHER: last supper at Gagosian

Gagosian has a new storefront on Park Avenue, and he’s installed pseudo-bad-boy (but always fun) Fischer with a great new cast bronze that looks like a lump of clay sculpture piece on the last supper. It strikes me as a mix of the Last Supper and the closing of Sleep No More/Macbeth by way of dumpster-diving art, but hey, Jesus has a taco and a Bud-tweiser here, need I say more? Through May 8th.

Next up: updates from Chelsea, the Lower East Side and maybe, just maybe I’ll get myself over the Bridge into Brooklyn for some art soon.

End Of Story, panel today

I’m speaking today at the Webvisions conference on a very exciting panel called End of Story. Love the title, but we’re not talking about the end, but perhaps the future of story. I’m late to announce the conference here, but I’m very excited to join two people I admire on stage – John Carlin of Funny Garbage and Casey Pugh of VHX, and for this panel most importantly, of Star Wars Uncut.

Here’s the panel description:

Join in a lively conversation that explores how technology is expanding and challenging our ideas of narrative, authorship and community with a panel that features Brian Newman (Sub-Genre Media), Casey Pugh (Star Wars Uncut), moderator John Carlin (Funny Garbage) and other special guests.

The panelists will discuss ways technology and digital media have empowered creative people to do new things over the past decade – rather than just distribute and market linear content. They’ll also talk about the challenges to some of our most cherished ideas about authorship, content and how art should provoke, engage and amuse us. They’ll share and critique some of the most well known (and obscure) examples of emerging interactive media, as well as what might be missing and how that will change over the next few years.

Finally, the panelists will publicly imagine the kind of digital culture we would like to see and how that will transform creative and commercial work around the world by the end of the decade.

The conversation promises to be intriguing and enlightening (thanks to the other two panelists), and I hope to post an update about it here next week. John is also leading a keynote on the future of Interactive Culture earlier in the day, which also looks pretty awesome. Here’s some Star Wars Uncut: