Mike Alan: Kronenberg Gives Us An Intimate Glimpse at Resident Artist’s Mike Alan’sÂ Latest Showing, FU** Depression.
Words by Michael Kronenberg. Photos by Hugh Burckhardt
Entering into Michael Alan’s “Fuck Depression” show at the 17 Frost Gallery in Williamsburg, on Saturday, December 19th was like passing through a gateway into an alternate universe. This universe pulsed with life, color and vitality and banished the winter blues with a heady cocktail of magnificent artworks, colored lights, painted bodies and sonic grooves. Alan’s mission in designing this show was to create a physical manifestation of an antidepressant, and he succeeded. The show took viewers into another realm and seduced them with an astonishing, sensual experience that transported them away from the stress and pressures of the Holidays, and back into remembering that they were a part of a loving, creative community.
Audience members were transfixed by the visual spectacle and vibed to the sonic beats. Alan performing as “Bad Santa, flowing about the stage area, transforming nude models into iconic holiday figures wrapped in lights and tinsel with exotic masks composed of lost toys and urban debris. Alan also cut loose with a wide range of verbal expressions, rapping, performing spoken word and comedy, and exhorting the audience to come together and to break down the barriers between them. The models performed fire rituals, made art, sang and crawled around the stage, interacting with Alan and Alan’s sculptures and the landscape of the stage.
The living installation is the Downtown 81 that has passed, and now is living literally, Michael Alan pours his soul into the canvas,the sculpture and directly on the stage five times a year and you kinda half to see it. It’s insane and also brilliant. You either love the show or worry he is gonna die on stage. I have never seen anything like it, and the city lacks it. New York City 2099!
The entire marathon ten hour performance was powered by an stupendous live musical accompaniment by long time Alan collaborator Tim “Love” Lee, and Pearl Necklace and special guest Ramsey Jones on the drums rocked the show hard, as did guest D.J. Mike Ogeltree.
Alan and his “Living Installation “crew have been bringing their unique form of expression to various locations around New York city for over twelve years. The show at 17 Frost Gallery was curated by Ellis Gallagher, a childhood friend of Alan’s. 17 Frost and co-owner Javier Hernandez-Miyares are working hard to create a welcoming artistic community that’s based on having a good time and embracing creativity versus the same old struggle up the corporate ladder. The Living installation will be returning the last Saturday in February but before that there will be a show by Michael Alan’s best friend Moody A.K.A. Mutz the prez of AA Mob that appreciators of the New York Graf scene will not want to miss.
If you want to experience Michael Alan’s music from the living installation you can find it here.
We got the chance to ask Alan a few questions:
Q. Tell me about depression during the Holidays and why you felt the need to say “Fuck It?” A. Many people have some type of depression during the Holidays and nowhere to go or they can’t deal. They don’t have the right family or they have the right family but they still want to go somewhere. I invented this event every Holiday season to bring people together to be creative and wacky and loony, lifting a kind of dark comedy. The ten hour event is like a second home for people who want to get together and create a positive vibration.
Q. You have been building a close, loyal community over the years. Who comes to your events and why? A. Anyone I find to be interesting, positive, productive and harmless.
Q. Your show features you free styling a mix of spoken word, freestyle rapping, comedy and songs. What is going through your head when you are on the mic.? A. Nothing particular, just having fun trying to be a fool being a fool. Living the life of a fool so other people can laugh, otherwise life is too serious.
Q. Tell me what goes in to organizing an event of this size? Do you work with a team to set up the show? A. I gotta live, breathe and shit the living installation, drawing all the time and mapping out bodies and having the performers be my friends, not just people I don’t know, and working with them, drawing them, trying on their bodies. Working on the music together, connecting, creating a community, linking them with other people I know, building a real, true community, not just doing some stupid show and just continuing that.
Q. You made some unique sculptures for the show that became additional characters, What’s your process when making these pieces? A.I don’t approach any process of art separately. I see everything as a circular rising. I didn’t make sculpture before I made the Living Installation, but now I really understand the body. Working on live people “live” is very difficult. You know and then you attach. You know how the body works, so for me to make sculpture in the studio is something I enjoy and understand how to do.
Q. Your art career is really taking off. What’s next for Michael Alan? A. I’ll have a double showing on January 8th. I’m showing two paintings at Station Independent Projects gallery, 138 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002 From 6-8pm, and doing a performance at Sins and Needles Tattoos at 329 6th avenue, NY, NY 10014 Where I will be drawing the tattoo beingÂ done on my arm for five hours from 7 till 12pm. I’ll be showing a few new works and my music will be playing. I have a blood disease called DVT that’s genetic. I’ve had it since I was a kid, and could bleed out, so this show is about strength.I’m also releasing a CD of the original music I created for “The Living Installation on Bandcamp that you can find here!
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