New York, NY
assemblage, digital, video, writing
My art poses questions about contemporary life through my personal, severely slanted lens. The work can be highly graphic, in comic-book style, with tabloid headlines, and symbols of pop culture throughout. Without necessarily advocating a one-sided agenda, themes include dualities of feminism, colorism, tabloid headlines, drug dependence, violence, and our current pandemic. I try to be amusing if possible, but that does not negate the seriousness of the themes. For example: What’s funny about CO-VID? Lovers kiss through masks. Massive collections of purses sit at home, because we don’t go anywhere. Why do tabloid headlines consume our emotions and mentality? (Aren’t these mostly irrelevant to us, but actually quite stimulating). Are there any “coincidences,” or do incidents happen at a certain time, for a certain reason? Why do we remember what we were doing on 9/11 or the day JFK was shot? Does coincidental dating form the narrative for our own lives? Why do feminists disrespect Barbie? Dolls have been religious, spiritual, and playful companions to humans since prehistoric times. Before Barbie, the toy industry marketed only “baby” dolls, pushing girls into the role of “mother.” Barbie can undertake any career … after a change in clothes. I often use Barbie and other doll-figures as stand-ins for myself and other humans. Barbie is the most popular toy, globally, and has been that way since the 1960s. Can there be anything amusing about assault and abuse, or is it all deadly serious? What do the dead want to say to the living? Has pop culture replaced ancient and historical beliefs in religion, closeness to nature, and spirits? What does the earth want to say to people who visit the Queens Botanical Garden? Can text be present in plant life? If so, what form would it take? If what is buried beneath this ground could talk to us, what would it say? For the fellowship at the Queens Botanical Garden, I want to further explore the relationship between the land and its visitors (us). I can envision text that grows from the ground, in the same way that soil communicates through plant-life. Without water, or nutrients, plants die or deform. Likewise, I can conceive of stones and shells that send messages, via text, images, or assemblage. In this way, I imagine outdoor (QBG) and indoor (gallery) works that are in conversation with each other.
20+ years as a doing-it-all marketing director in NYC provided the content for Andrea Bass to evolve into an artist, beginning with undergraduate studio art education at CUNY in 2011. Naturally, her art of Andrea Bass is about tropes of contemporary life, including hypocrisies of feminism. After completing an MFA in Studio Art at The City College of New York, she was awarded an art residency at L'Air Arts, FIAP Jean Monnet in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Galerie Mémoire de l'Avenir (Paris), Local Project Art Space (Queens). Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Collective (BWAC), South Street Seaport, Rockaway! MOMA/PS1, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and Ponder Savant. Her studio space is at The Invisible Dog Art Center in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Andrea was raised in the Spuyten Duyvil section of the Bronx, near the intersection of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers. The Dutch named the area “spitting devil,” due to its turbulent waters. Like all New York, this landscape was originally home to native Americans (Lenape Tribe). Besides the takeover of land by Europeans, the massive digging and construction needed to re-route the natural waterway for commercial shipping traffic was highly disruptive, and I believe that these assaults continue to reverberate in that neighborhood. There have been at least four serious train crashes nearby, most recently in 2013. A southbound Metro North train veered into the Hudson River. Its engineer is a descendant of the Rockefellers. Likewise, the land in the Queens Botanical Garden was inhabited by native Americans (the Matinecock), and perhaps they have something to say to us. Andrea’s background as a “person of color,” stems from Middle Eastern Jewish ancestry, whose calendar dates back 5780 years. Although I may be privileged as a light tan person in NYC, Jews have been labelled “other,” since Biblical times, worldwide. My grandparents immigrated to the US in the early 1900s because they faced pogroms which evacuated Jews in Eastern Europe. The musical “Fiddler on the Roof” dramatizes that experience. In an assignment at City College, I participated in an “artist interview” in which I recounted the experience of being recruited by a formerly “restricted” bank in Chicago to “diversify” their staff, even though I had no background in business or finance. References: Tom Momberg, “Little Neck Street co-named for native Matinecock Tribe,” Times Ledger October 8, 2015. http://www.matinecocktribalnation.org/times-ledger.html#times-ledger Dani Ishai Behan, “Yes, Ashkenazi Jews (Including Gal Gadot) Are People of Color,” The Times of Israel, June 4, 2017. https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/yes-ashkenazi-jews-including-gal-gadot-are-people-of-color/ Thomas C. Zambito, “Metro-North engineer William Rockefeller operated erratically before fatal crash,” Poughkeepsie Journal, August 15, 2018. https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2018/08/15/metro-north-spuyten-duvil-derailment/993599002/ Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism, Indiana University Press, 2007.
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