193 Sound + WRFL: Itasca (5/31)

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Itasca

For the fifth installment in the 193 Sound/WRFL concert series on May 31st, we were joined by LA based Itasca. Behind this musical identity is singer, songwriter, and guitarist Kayla Cohen, who’s refine musical abilities allow her to create a sound that alludes to multiple genres at once.

In this performance, Cohen was joined by steel pedal player and regular collaborator Dave McPeters. Their presence was humble, met by the attentive seated audience that filled the remaining gallery space. Though this was the only date of the tour that didn’t feature the full band, the performance left nothing to be desired. Backed by her own finger-style guitar playing and the meditative steel-pedal work of McPeters, Cohen delivered haunting but subtle vocal musings that were honest and introspective in the same. Each song maintained and recreated a dewy sunsetting atmosphere that surrounded the audience. It was a performance where each member of the audience was able to interpret the set as something completely unique from the person sitting next to them.

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We are looking forward to next months installment in the 193 Sound/WRFL series. Keep an eye out for information regarding July’s show on our Facebook page.

—Lizzie Gray

Natalie Baxter Is Featured in Hyperallergic!

Pillowy Gun Sculptures Take Aim at US’ Culture of Violence

by Ashlie Danielle Stevens on April 12, 2016

Installation view of Natalie Baxter’s ‘OK-47’ at Institute 193 gallery in Lexington, Kentucky (photo courtesy of Institute 193)

LEXINGTON, Ken. — Nearly 50 plush guns line the white walls of the small gallery Institute 193. They range in size, pattern, and make: there are fluffy 10 mm. pistols; handguns with hot pink cylinders and gold lamé tips; and rifles with silk-covered barrels that droop, nearly grazing the floor. These pieces are part of Brooklyn-based artist Natalie Baxter’s exhibitionOK-47, which features selections from her Warm Gun series deftly exploring issues of masculinity, mass violence, gun culture, and gun control in the US.

Baxter was inspired to begin the project when she returned home to Kentucky for the holidays in December 2014.

“[I was] at a friend’s house who has a collection of handguns hanging on his wall,” Baxter says. “This was in the wake of Ferguson, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter marches were happening all across the country, and police brutality and gun violence were hot media topics fresh on everyone’s minds.

“So looking at this entire wall covered in guns, it felt uncomfortable and strange, and like something I would never see anywhere in my new home in New York City,” she says.

Natalie Baxter, “Tammy Gun” (2015), fabric and polyfill, 12 x 42 x 8 in (photo by and courtesy the artist)

While being raised in Kentucky, Baxter was introduced to gun culture, but also to the craft of quilting and sewing by her “Appalachian, gun-owning granny.” This seemed the ideal project to blend these two aspects of her upbringing, which Baxter says comes in the wake of having grown up exposed to mass shootings, like watching TV coverage of Columbine when she was in high school, the Virginia Tech shooting while in college, Aurora, Newtown, and, most recently, San Bernardino.

Read the full article via Hyperallergic.

193 Sound + WRFL Concert Series

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Flanger Magazine

 The first two installments of the monthly 193 Sound/WRFL concert series were fantastic! Robert Beatty, the series organizer, has been packing the gallery full of listeners. We’re looking forward to what the year in music will bring.

On January 30, Lexington’s Daryl Cook opened for Boston’s Noise Nomads. According to Beatty:

“Noise Nomads is the long running noise project of Western Massachusetts based artist and sole member Jeff Hartford. In a steady stream of releases and performances in the underground since the early 2000’s he has developed a body of beastly and sometimes humorous homemade sound. His drawings, collages, and photos of his travels are often documented in small edition handmade zines available at shows. The project’s name was referenced by Kim Gordon in the lyrics to the Sonic Youth song “Sacred Trickster” from their final album and also used as source material in one of her “noise paintings”. Hartford also plays in the bands Greyskull and Buddyship among other projects.”

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Noise Nomads

“Daryl Cook is a Lexington-based artist who plays his own brand of confounding and fragile improvised electronic music (formerly under the name Walter Carson).”

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Daryl Cook

On March 25, Louisville’s Flanger Magazine played two brief electronic sets followed by an acoustic bit.

“Flanger Magazine may very well be a magazine someday. So far it has been a cassette label, a blog, a radio show (on Louisville’s new to the FM dial ARTxFM/WXOX), and more frequently in recent years a solo and collaborative musical recording and performance project. Comprised live of Chris Bush and Ben Zoeller (both known for their work in the band Caboladies with Eric Lanham), Flanger Magazine is a largely improvised wave of freeform and pastoral electronic sound. Blasts of sparse analog cacophony give way to blissful orchestral drone — clattering metallic drum machine melts gently into acoustic lullabies. These sounds- at once turbulent and calm are often accompanied with mind bending visuals created by the band for a fully immersive experience.”

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Flanger Magazine

We missed February, but we’ll make it up to you. The next performance is set for Friday, April 22. Tim Barnes (Louisville, KY) will play an experimental percussion set. Mark your calendar!

Institute 193 thanks WRFL and Robert Beatty for their support.

Lots of Love for OK-47!

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Natalie Baxter, My Super Sweet M Sixteen, 2015, fabric and polyfill, 20 x 60 x 3.5 inches.

OK-47 is receiving lots of press! Natalie Baxter and the exhibition were recently featured on The Creators Project (VICE). Julie Gross penned a review of the exhibition for AEQAI titled “Weapons of Mass Construction” (we’re all been having a lot of fun with gun puns) in which she likened the works to drag queens. To top it off, Alabama Chanin just posted a Q+A with Baxter and Institute 193 director Cat Wentworth; Baxter talks process and politics.

We’re delighted that the exhibition has been so well received and widely covered. Stay tuned for more press, and please join us on April 16 for a closing reception / artist talk / Q+A with Baxter at Institute 193.

Institute 193 x NADA NYC 2016

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Institute 193 is pleased to have been selected from a competitive pool of global applicants to be an exhibitor in the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) fair in NYC this May. We’ll be bringing new work by Kentucky artists Robert Beatty and Mike Goodlett to exhibit in a project booth.

We’re very excited for this opportunity to showcase the talents of two Lexington-area artists, but we can’t make it to New York without your support; please consider contributing to this meaningful project. Help Institute 193 continue to be an ambassador for Southern artists. Help Beatty and Goodlett reach new audiences. Help us put Kentucky on the map as a vibrant, creative region!

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Mike Goodlett Untitled, 2016, hydrostone plaster cast fabric mold, 24 x 11 x 11 inches. Image courtesy of Mike Goodlett.

Coffee + Waffles

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This past Saturday, our friends Sam Burchett and Carrie Shirley made a glorious breakfast in the gallery. The two set up a waffle iron slinging old school Belgian waffle batter and Chemex pour overs featuring Magic Beans‘ delicious Guatemala Huehuetenango roast.

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Breakfast-goers got the first peek at OK-47 as they munched on waffles topped with KY sorghum and cookie butter.

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Look who showed up! All the way from Atlanta, the newly engaged Stephanie Dowda and Scott Daughtridge enjoyed coffee and caught up with Robert Beatty.

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The event was such a big hit, we’ll probably make it a regular occurrence. Stay tuned…

Art + Law: Joy Drury Cox and the Idea / Expression Dichotomy

Amid the threat of Kentucky Arts Council defunding (and the actuality of the organization’s budget cut), the state has been abuzz with conversation about the relevance of the arts. A timely surprise, I received a message from North Carolina artist Joy Drury Cox, whose work is on exhibit at Institute 193 until Feb. 27. Cox told me that she had been contacted by Lexington artist and University of Kentucky Law Professor Brian Frye. The very complimentary Frye said that he used Cox’s work to help illustrate a topic in his copyright law class. He added:

“…I think the works are very beautiful, something like a cross of fluxus & Agnes Martin, with the humor of the former & the ineffability of the latter. And they flummoxed my law students in such a delightful way.”

I recently spoke to Frye, asking him to expand a bit.

His class had been studying the famous Baker v. Selden case of 1879. The story goes like this: In 1859, Charles Selden wrote a book called Selden’s Condensed Ledger, which, through a series of forms and just a few words, described an improved system of bookkeeping. Selden obtained copyright through this publication, and he believed that he could sell this system to county governments and the US. Dept. of the Treasury. His efforts proved unsuccessful. In 1867, W.C.M. Baker wrote a book detailing a very similar system and more successfully sold it—to some 40 counties within five years. Selden’s wife, at this point his widow and the inheritor of the rights to his book, filed suit against Baker for copyright infringement.

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From Selden’s Condensed Ledger

The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, whose essential ruling was that copyright protection for Selden’s book extends only to his unique explanation of the invented bookkeeping system. So it did not prevent Baker from using the system or using Selden’s forms. Though Baker’s publication did contain material that was extremely similar to that in Selden’s, Baker’s book was his own interpretation of the system.

Baker v. Selden is the seminal case and oft-cited reference point for suits involving the idea/expression dichotomy. While the law can protect expressions of ideas, it cannot protect ideas themselves. However, sometimes an idea and its expression are very difficult to separate. If an idea can only be expressed in one or a small number of ways, copyright law will not protect the expression of that idea because it it is said to have “merged” with the idea. As an idea cannot be copyrighted, neither can an expression that must inevitably be used in order to express the idea.

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Joy Drury Cox, Standard Timecard Adams Form #9791 (Front and Back), 2009, graphite on paper, 17 x 14 inches.

Prof. Frye asked his class to view Cox’s work through the lens of the Baker v. Selden case. He urges us all to consider the ways in which copyright is relevant to our aesthetic experience, if at all. In an age where ideas and their expressions are easily spread and altered—but can be difficult to trace to their origins—these considerations are increasingly important, especially when it comes to protecting artists, their talents, and their time.

Though an element like a Wendy’s logo is an idea expression that is copyrightable, does an application for a job at Wendy’s have a copyrightable element? The way I see it, by extracting the geometries of these forms, the idea that the artwork represents now has nothing to do with Wendy’s system of organizing its prospective employees. Surely Cox is in no legal danger.

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Joy Drury Cox, Untitled (Wendy’s Application), 2006, graphite on paper, 26 x 34 inches.

Prof. Frye’s identity and experience as an artist has helped to shape his career in law. A recipient of both an MFA and a JD, his research focuses on legal issues affecting artists and arts organizations, and he teaches Civil Procedure, Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Nonprofit Organizations at the University of Kentucky. He also co-founded Kentucky Lawyers for the Arts,  an organization whose mission is “to support the Kentucky arts community by providing referrals to attorneys that are willing to offer pro bono legal services to qualifying artists and arts organizations.” Kentucky Lawyers for the Arts operates entirely online, and its referral services are free. This is a wonderful resource for Kentucky artists.

Clever appropriations of classic novels, Cox’s “Stranger” and “Old Man and Sea” books bring up similar questions concerning the idea / expression dichotomy. These publications are now available via Institute 193. Stop by the gallery and pick one up, or order a copy via our online shop.

—Cat Wentworth, Director

Joy Drury Cox Publications Are Here!

Two publications by Joy Drury Cox, “Stranger” and “Old Man and Sea,” are now available via Institute 193. Both books, published by Conveyor, are clever appropriations of classic books. Visually appealing and enjoyable to thumb through, they’ll look nice on any shelf or coffee table.

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In her serene interpretation of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Joy Drury Cox offers a fresh understanding of time and language. By simplifying this quintessentially American tome to its most basic construction, Old Man and Sea evokes the literal and metaphorical elements of the trace. Honoring the original form of Hemingway’s novel, Cox has replicated the exact dimensions of her own well-worn paperback edition. Using Hemingway’s periods as a guide, Cox creates new patterns and possibilities for understanding his familiar language. Admittedly this new reading of the work is at first primarily visual. Though, by preserving only the pauses and allowing us to make the journey between them, our sense of Hemingway’s pace enters a new dimension.

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Joy Drury Cox’s Stranger is another punctuation study that maps out each period in an English translation of Albert Camus’ The Stranger. For the opening of the eponymous exhibition at Workshop @ Christian Berst, Cox revisited the project through a new series of photographic prints. These enlargements, displayed alongside the original drawings, become new translations of each chapter-heading page in the original Camus text. Further removed from the original book, each print becomes a seemingly random combination of points and numbers, playing off the existential themes of the book.

Pick up a copy of each at Institute 193, or order online.

“World Made by Hand” Exhibition Features Three Kentucky Artists

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poster by Robert Beatty

Three Lexington, KY artists (and friends of Institute 193) are featured in a group exhibition at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in NYC. Beverly Baker, Robert Beatty, and Mike Goodlett each have a drawing in the exhibition, “World Made By Hand,” which is on view at 212 Bowery from February 7 – March 20, 2016.

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Mike Goodlett, Untitled, 2015-16, pencil and thread on paper, 22.5 x 17.5 inches.

Via Andrew Edlin Gallery:

“Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition World Made By Hand, featuring 70 artists engaged in the medium of drawing. Devoid of dependence on any form of technology, these works depict imagery that is primarily derived from nature and the minds of its creators. Free from overt references to 20th or 21st century popular culture these artists tap into their immediate external and internal environments.

“The genesis for the exhibition World Made By Hand is the 2008 novel of the same title by James Howard Kunstler, in which citizens of a rural town in upstate New York rebuild their society in the aftermath of devastating personal loss due to nuclear destruction, epidemics and economic collapse that has all but eliminated the comforts of modern living – no electricity, automobiles, common medications like antibiotics, or any kind of mass food production. In short, almost nothing can be taken for granted.

“The townspeople in the story “World Made By Hand” are unencumbered by the rules imposed on them by a culture that no longer exists. While focused on basic survival strategies, they revert to fundamental humanist principles and biblical eye-for-an-eye justice. They discard pre-disaster 21st century norms and rebuild a pathway out of their dystopian nightmare towards a brighter, even utopian future. Children born after the crisis have little frame of reference of what life was like before. Similarly, the artists in this exhibition are not bound by artistic protocol, and are either unaware of or see little value in the dominant trends of the late 20th century. The drawings here lean towards the primordial yet are hopeful, suffused in the raw ether that permeates the DNA of art.”

 

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Robert Beatty, Floating Lead Selector, 2016, ink on bristol, 13.75 x 10.75 inches.