Galerie Tanja Grunert
524 West 19th Street,
New York, New York 10011
between 10th and 11th Ave
across from David Zwirner Gallery
Thursday, March 31 at 4 PM to 6PM
Galerie Tanja Grunert is pleased to present Nine Lives, the fifth solo exhibition with New York based artist Michael Alan. The prolific artist and performer will be exhibiting all new mixed media works that build on his dysmorphic, yet painfully exact forms. Utilizing a unique mark making language Alan shares with us a glimpse into his present as he experiences it. The compulsive need to make marks and capture a picture, comes from a deeper desire to capture the happenings of the intangible now. The artist acts as a reporter, his work as a contorted, technicolor filter through which the viewer is invited to decipher their own measures of reality.
Join us for Michael Alan’s solo exhibition, 9Lives, to see new works of the Brooklyn based artist. The showcase is to commemorate a complete turn around from overdosing and now reliving “nine lives”. Come and celebrate new life and new art. The most motivated artist of 2016 suffers and still creates passionate artwork through it all.
Mark McCawley: Where did the idea of ‘9Lives’ come from?
Michael Alan: 9 lives came to me as a way to express my thanks for my life. Ever since my accident and surgery, I have been through the American trials of Medicare Health Care that always brings the pushing of legal narcotics and risky surgeries. The last few months they gave me Opana [a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic] since my health care would not pay for simple pain meds. I was allergic to this med and had an OD from the regular dose resulting in a 3 day coma sleep. For 30 seconds that I can recall I was not on earth and came back.
My pain and such has made me a open and very experimental artist, willing to live every day like it was life number 9.
Mark McCawley: There is long history of artists working through pain and illness — Antonin Artaud, Emily Carr, Arthur Rimbaud, Vincent van Gogh, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, David Wojnarowicz, Bob Flanagan. How has pain and illness focused your artwork?
Michael Alan: There comes a point when the pain, illnesses and meds take you down and to a place were you let go of the wheel and let everything into the painting drawing process. What once was a boundary becomes a place to explore.
Mark McCawley: Has your present malady brought certain ideas and concepts into more focus? For instance, the need to transgress your own artistic vision and abilities while much of the contemporary art scene seems focused solely on the commodification of their art?
Michael Alan: I just want to recover, so everyday I feel closer and closer even if I fall back, and I do and ill post it and be honest to my community. Within that process I see things, very small linings to patterns of human life, I’m able to really appreciate and see it and put it into action. As far as the scene, I don’t like scenes, so I don’t see one it’s scattered and I can care less, I wish I did but I don’t, I love creating that’s really the goal and what’s ever needed to get the “scene” aware of pushing the mental.
Mark McCawley: When faced with your mortality, what affect did that have on your art and creativity overall?
Michael Alan: To be blunt, it fucked me up the first year I got burned, I was depressed and some people were just leaving and using me, I learned finally that I am me, not mike the artist, just me, this is a great porthole to escape besides that I stay with loyal people who love me for me. You see what people want and what you want when your on the way out. I finally found I just wanna live in this moment. That lets me find everything I need in art and life, the good bad ugly all of it! And if I pass I pass, this is life.
Mark McCawley: Would you agree that “art scenes” are something of a trap for artists to limit and commodify their art?
Michael Alan: Coke, coke, coke, coke, and who’s cool, not art, how can you work? It’s work, deep work. I’ll go with my crew
Mark McCawley: Describe your crew. How do they aid/sustain you as an artist?
Michael Alan: Anyone that’s got true love and respect. I got a lot of people. I do well I’m on the border of emerged and emerging, I’m happy but not the goal. I’m the NY artist…
Mark McCawley: How does your solo exhibition differ from your installations art-wise and philosophically-speaking?
Michael Alan: I am a working artist, so exhibitions are my life, job, everything. My live shows are what I can do in a art community and use what money and time I have to create fun and opportunity.
Mark McCawley: What are your future plans, if any?
Michael Alan: Future plans, not take heavy meds for pain! stay in this place, work out! More museum shows, have a film and Record coming out, more shows and shoes!
Mark McCawley: Tell me more about the film and record coming out?
Michael Alan: The film will be about my life, they are literally coming here Monday to start filming. Thanks to Alan Ket! A major influence.
Show runs until the last Saturday in April.
Michael Alan was born in 1977, in Bushwick, New York. His work has been the subject of 10 solo exhibitions in New York, and has been included in over 200 group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. In addition to his work as a multi-media artist, Michael is the founder and director of the Living Installation, where human beings are transformed into unique, living art objects. These happenings are set to Alan’s original music, which is recorded featuring artists such as The Residents, Tommy Ramone, Ariel Pink, and Meredith Monk. The main goal of the project is reinforcing that humans are living installations by creating a space for people to open up, come together and are all equal through the process of creating art.