art news & reviews & Interviews. jeff bergman, editor

152 – Street Hassle Curatorial Statement

Originally created as a proposal for a not-for-profit gallery in New York, Street Hassle was my attempt to create a show using the framework of Lou Reed’s epic song of the same name.  Though this proposal has been edited, the concept remains the same.  I hope to offer you a version of Street Hassle online, with music and image, but that will require some time and handiwork I do not currently have the capabilities for.  

For now, Street Hassle the proposal will have to suffice.  Maybe tomorrow it will be a show.

Street Hassle

Participating artists:
Katie Commodore – painting and illustration
Jeremiah Dine – projected photographs
Austin Kennedy – projected photographs
Matt Krefting – sound piece
Matthew Trygve Tung – projected photographs

Curated by Jeff Bergman

Street Hassle is a visual, auditory and participatory exploration of Lou Reed’s epic song of the same name.  Though not intended as a tribute to the artist, Street Hassle will aim to show the profound influence that Lou Reed has had on sound and art.  The space will become an homage to this song which deals with sex, drugs and death; but more specifically the unpredictable nature of interactions.  It is these indeterminate moments that Street Hassle will illuminate through sound and visual components.

The space will have a listening station, or 2 portable listening pods, so anyone can hear the original 10 minute track. Street Hassle will play in it’s original album version.  The song, which has three distinct movements, will be available as music and as lyrics (printed with curatorial statement).  The first movement, Waltzing Matilda, is a sexual experience beginning with a the procuring of a male prostitute.  The second, Street Hassle, details the story of a overdosed woman being dealt with so the police don’t ask questions.  The third, Slip Away, is a lament for lost love and life.  

Katie Commodore will produce visual works that deal with the first passage of the song.  This is the explicitly sexual section and Commodore’s work will encompass this flirtation and consummation.  Reed uses the come on “Although I’m sure you’re certain, it’s a rarity me flirtin’” in the track to invite us into their sensual but not intimate moment.  We are part of their hook up and Commodore will give us this moment in time.  Her work will encompass a moment of sexual inhibition with patterned lusciousness.  These two momentary partners will have their unguarded moment in front of our eyes.

A trio of artists, Jeremiah Dine, Austin Kennedy and Matthew Trygve Tung, will project images as a triptych from both slide and digital projectors.  One section of the space will be darkened.  This section, Street Hassle, will be street photography, created in the last few years.  All of the images will deal with discarded and scarred elements that make New York a city full of decay amidst great progress.  The aim, in dealing with the 2nd passage of the song, is to show the detritus of the city in broad daylight.  The cast off objects and spaces that we pass and ignore are illuminated.  Street Hassle refers to a woman being left in a street or alley to avoid to avoid the police.  In reality, this serves as a perfect metaphor for some much of what exists around us in city life.  People choose to ignore the strange and ugly things we see daily, and these three photographers give them a second life.

Matt Krefting, musician, will compose a tape piece as a counterpoint to the original work.  This dissonance will begin and end the participants experience.  Created live with tape machines, Krefting’s sound will be the truly indeterminate moment of Street Hassle.  As Lou Reed pleads “please don’t slip away” in the final chapter of his epic, the sounds of this piece will in fact be the record of music slipping away and becoming something new and beyond its original intentions.  Because of Krefting’s piece playing in the space, there will be no chance to just hear the original Street Hassle song without the sound piece or visual elements as adulterants.  

Street Hassle is a capsule in which a participant will explore a space filled with reference to this epic song and poem.  It will also exist as a portal in which the participant can remix their own version by hearing Matt Krefting’s work, possibly overlayed with Street Hassle on a listening pod, viewing photography in a darkened area or viewing electric, erotic paintings in another.  The space will echo the chaos and indeterminate nature of the song,  hopefully producing the longing that is echoed in the final chapter of Street Hassle, urging the viewer “Please don’t slip away”.

Complete Lyrics to Street Hassle can be read here.


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About the artists:

Katie Commodore has exhibited all over the United States, and Europe, including England, Italy, Germany and Greece.  She has her undergraduate degree from Maryland Institute, College of Art and her Masters of Fine Art degree from Rhode Island School of Design.  Currently she lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Jeremiah Dine is a New York based artist and photographer. He attended The Cooper Union. Dine’s work is in many public and private collections around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.

Austin Kennedy is a photographer and designer based in New York City.  He draws on traditional darkroom techniques and the vocabulary of art history to manipulate the language of pictures and place them in dialog with each other and with the viewer. He studied at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design and has lived and worked in Switzerland, Turkey and the U.S.

Matt Krefting is a writer and musician based in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He is a regular contributor to The Wire and his written work appears in surround, Bull Tongue Review, The Huffington Post, and chapbooks of his work have been published by Kendra Steiner Editions and Glass Eye Books. Another Night on the Town, a collection of Krefting’s poems with drawings by Dennis Tyfus, was published in 2014 by Ultra Eczema.   His music has been released by Open Mouth, Ultra Eczema, Ecstatic Peace!, and Kye, among others.

Matthew Trygve Tung is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Born and raised in San Francisco, CA, he received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006 and subsequently relocated to New York, where he completed his MFA at Hunter College in 2012. He was awarded a Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop in 2008 and received the Eleanor Gay Lee and Esther Fisher Perry awards from in 2012.

-Jeff Bergman
April 2016



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