The West Harlem Art Fund was approached to help these young creatives and the work that they are doing in NYC. We thought the Sax Battles and the recreation of Rent Parties quite clever. To help, we are showcasing some of the art videos this collective have developed for this coming Saturday on the Baylander. Come out and see the films and also listen to some music. This team has been supported by Art in Odd Places and the Franklin Furnace.
Friskin’ The Whiskers (running time):00:02:50 2016
Friskin’ The Whiskers is a street-based social performance that draws upon famous New York jazz musicians’ rent parties designed to entertain and pay the rent. The work involves an open call to tri-boro based jazz musicians to battle for change and prizes in an exchange referred to as “cutting contests” where musicians will duel each other in a game for rent money. The exchange happens across an elaborate faux inlayed gaming table with inset recording horns and sub woofers meant to pull from the elitist realm of gambling while connecting it with the folk tradition of quotidian entertainment.
Traveling Shoes (running time):00:14:19 2013
Traveling Shoes is a performative sound work employing a mobile two-chair shoeshine stand with a built in sound system, a jazz trio, a marching band and a shoe shiner engaged in gold leafing the public’s shoes as a metaphor for ascension.
Dem’ Golden Slippers (running time): 00:12:13 2013
Dem’ Golden Slippers is a performance and installation created for the Cuchifritos Gallery in collaboration with Stefanie Nelson, Jason Thompson and Bradly Dever Treadaway based on the street vendors and self-employed peddlers originally housed in the Essex Market. The piece explores the trade of shoe shining and hustling while setting up shop during given hours where visitors have the opportunity to get their shoes gold-leafed.
Flee (running time):00:02:00 2009
Flee is a video based on the idea of freedom through evasion or flight. The piece pairs an escaping figure that runs desperately through an unidentifiable landscape with the view from the windshield of a car that drives across the bridge that separates New Orleans from the mainland. Both images are projected upon a brick wall that implies the hopelessness of such escape. This work is accompanied by the ballad Flee Like the Birds to the Mountains originally written by Jelly-Roll Morton. This work has been arranged and performed with a solitary soprano saxophone by Jason R. Thompson and its slow and hypnotic movement contrasts the high speed of the video works. (Made in collaboration with Justin Randolph Thompson)
Brutus Jones (running time):00:24:00 2013
Brutus Jones is a performance that addresses revolutionary stagnancy, the shift from military to circus of the marching band and the legacy of global reaching political activism. The piece pulls from the violence surrounding Paul Robeson’s 1949 concert in Peekskill, NY employing an all baritone saxophone ensemble, a multi-pieced drum line and a retired battering ram. The work is an oratory and physical call to arms that seeks to broaden audio culture by delineating a historical continuum.
THE FRISKIN’ THE WHISKERS TEAM
Justin Randolph Thompson — Project Director
Justin Randolph Thompson is a sculptor and new media artist born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Living between Italy and the US since 2001, he has exhibited internationally and participated in numerous residencies in the US and in Europe. A recipient of the 2015 Franklin Furnace Fund Grant, a 2013 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a 2013 Visual Art Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, a 2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park , a Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, the Open Studio Fellowship at Franconia Sculpture Park, a Jerome Fellow and a resident at the Taller of Jannis Kounellis at the Fundacion Marcelino Botin in Santander, Spain, Thompson has exhibited and performed at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, at Villa Romana in Florence, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Fundacion Botin in Santander.
His work questions the implications of cultural relics and the mutability of their veneration within the context of displacement. Broadly collaborative and inherently interdisciplinary he relies upon the collective power of creative dialogue to provide platforms that envision communities as temporary monuments. Resisting a legacy of American triumph and problematizing aspirations towards Roman expansionist history, site-specific works engage community-oriented groups across disciplines in the creation of installations and sound-based performances utilizing gestures of labor as rhythmic structures. The work shifts the lens of legibility in African American history against the backdrop of a culture that uses monuments to forget.
Bradly Dever Treadaway — Filmmaker and Audiovisual Director
Bradly Dever Treadaway is a Brooklyn based artist and teacher utilizing photography, video, film and installation to emphasize socially conscious themes and self- awareness. His work revolves around fleeting family histories visualized through domestic rituals, the loss of cultural tradition and aspires to reunite present and past through visual metaphors. Treadaway works with five generations of family archives from Southern Louisiana, deconstructing and re-contextualizing the archive to serve as form, medium and concept.
Treadaway is a Fulbright Scholar to Italy and works as both a Faculty member and the Digital Media Coordinator at The International Center of Photography in New York City. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art, Center for Photography at Woodstock, The International Center of Photography, The Mobile Museum of Art, The Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence, Italy, and the Lishui Museum of Photography in China. His film/video work has been screened at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia, Union Docs, Anthology Film Archives, the Nashville Film Festival, the Coney Island Film Festival, and at the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Scene: Brooklyn.
Treadaway also remains engaged in a 17-year collaboration with internationally acclaimed and exhibited artist Justin Randolph Thompson. www.bradtreadaway.com
Jason Thompson — Sound Director and Composer
Jason Thompson is a third generation jazz musician from Peekskill, NY. He began his professional saxophone career in 1996 when he gave up a scholarship to the University of Tennessee and started a six-year stint on the road with Knoxville-based, nine member rock/R&B group Gran Torino. The group toured nationally, made several recordings, and enjoyed some college radio success before disbanding. Thompson returned to the UTK to study jazz under many great professors including Jerry Coker, and Donald Brown. Thompson’s choice of the baritone saxophone as his main voice puts him in a smaller circle of the saxophone family, but it’s his bass saxophone playing that makes him truly unique. He recently founded the band Frog and Toad’s Dixie Quartet. Thompson performs and composes regularly and has collaborated with his younger brother on over 50 projects. www.frogandtoadsdixiequartet.com