Chaos in literature, science and art

April 4 – 6, 2000

Chaos in literature, science and art. Sponsored by Pfizer Corporation &Herbert Lee Grayson Foundation Panel Discussion:

Tuesday, April 4th & Wednesday, April 5th, 6pm
Angus Fletcher
, CUNY on Spenser’s “Mutability Cantos”and the poetry of John Ashbery

Thursday, April 6th, 6pm John Ashbery, Bard College, poetry reading
Jim Crutchfield, Santa Fe Institute, on the physics of chaos
Joan Richardson, CUNY, on science & poetry
Angus Fletcher, CUNY, respondent

In history, chaos is anarchy, mutability, disorder, chance, indeterminacy, flux, non-linearity, entropy, irrational thought, creativity, destructive emotion and the primal source of all that is.


April 4-6 2000

Retrodiction  –The History of Chaos in Literature, Science and Art.

Retrodiction is a series of audio recordings designed for an Internet experience with visual, musical, interactive, and educational components. The series will explore the concept of chaos and the fundamental question: Do things happen by chance? or does nature govern by fixed laws? The goal is to increase public understanding of science through fiction, poetry, and philosophical writings. The project is a collaborative effort among Dactyl Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Art and Science Laboratory. Continue reading “Retrodiction”

Dactyl Screening Room Benefit

January 24th 2000

Honorary Chair: John Ashbery

Curators: John Bissell, Willem Dafoe, Sean Gullette, Lyle Hysen, Elizabeth LeCompte, David Levine, Kate Valk. Committee: Anurag Bhargava co-chair, Debra Scherer co-chair, Henry Buhl, Michael Caruso, Tom Fontana, Massi Ghausi, Agnes Gund, Eva Herzigova, Sarah Lee, Rick Montgomery, David Sussman, Hillary & Bradley Thomas, David Thorpe, Jed Weintrob. Projects: Darren Aronofsky, Peter Care, Larry Clark, James Crutchfield, Jim Findlay, Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley, Lewis Klahr, Ken Kobland, Alex McDowell, Jon Moritsugu, Ret.Inevitable, Richard Sandler, Leslie Thornton, Todd Solondz, Brett Vapnek, The Wooster Group.

James Gilroy, information paintings

Nov 6th – Dec 10th 1999

‘Information Paintings,’ an exhibit by James Gilroy also featuring “Don’t Let Go”, a digital documentary with James Gilroy & Larry Clark directed by Neil Grayson
and edited by Chris Schwerin.

Art is born at “the edge of order and chaos,” to borrow Christopher Langton’s phrase, where novel patterns are related to their predecessors, emerging from while transforming convention. According to Langton, who is a central figure in the field of evolution theory, life is only possible within a special equilibrium of order and disorder. The same is easily said for the evolution of art. Science has recently done much to inform the arts. Specialists in the phenomenon of self-organization–who would include Langton as well as Margaret Boden, Murray Gell-Mann, Stuart Kaufman, and lIya Prigogine–have increased popular understanding of how, overtime, order inevitably emerges out of disorderly chance events. Continue reading “James Gilroy, information paintings”

Turning on Turner

Online exhibition 1999-2001

Much of the later work of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) is the epitome of abstraction, that is, his images are not merely nonrepresentational. The paintings featured in this online exhibition are truly reified representations of seascapes, landscapes, and cityscapes. They are so reified, in fact, as to be almost symbolic of what they depict rather than illustrative. Dactyl Foundation for the Arts & Humanities presents “Turning on Turner,” an online exhibition of contemporary artists whose work is influenced by the great British painter. The show includes works by Dozier Bell, Pamela Bowers, James Crosby, Joy Garnett, Neil Grayson, and W. Whitney Smith III. Shown left is Turner’s variously named Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory)- The Morning after the Deluge- Moses Writing the Book of Genesis (c. 1843), Oil on Canvas, 787mm x 787mm Continue reading “Turning on Turner”

Stephanie Rose, paintings

March 6 – April 10, 1999

This marks the first exhibition of portraits by an artist whose reputation was established as an abstract painter. Six portraits will be shown along with a large abstract painting to provide a context. Portrait subjects include: Poet John Ashbery, who, among numerous other distinctions, has received the MacArthur Prize Fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize, and has twice been named a Guggenheim Fellow; he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a chancellor of the American Academy of Poets. Novelist Ted Mooney, Senior Editor of Art in America, who has received awards from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram-Merrill Foundation. Actress,Melissa Errico, who is known for her achievements on the Broadway stage. Poet, author and art critic, John Ash. Poet and art critic, Tom Bridenbach. Yannis Dellatolas, 20th century music expert and photographer. Elizabeth Schub, filmmaker. Continue reading “Stephanie Rose, paintings”

Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Paul Muldoon

December 11th 1998

A reading of works by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Paul Muldoon with introductions by Oona Frawley.

Every language is its own world, and I find myself an immediate tourist in writing this introduction, in English, about Nuala ni Dhomhnaill’s Irish poetry, because the Irish that is Nuala’s is a world of quite different dimensions to the one we inhabit when we use English. Reading her poetry, then, even if in the translation that has made her work available to a larger, non-Irish reading public, is an Immram, a holy voyage of sorts, like those the Irish scribes recorded centuries ago. Continue reading “Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Paul Muldoon”

Judy Glantzman, one painting and drawings

Sept 17 – Oct 31 1998

A collection of self-portraits (one painting and drawings) by Judy Glantzman, curated by Neil Grayson.

The Dactyl Foundation is proud to open the 1998 fall season with an exceptional exhibition of one painting and twelve drawings by Judy Glantzman. Her work has received a number of prestigious awards, and her reputation has been thoroughly established in national art publications over the past fifteen years. In the early 80s the talk was about her precedents (i.e. Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning or Edvard Munch), but, now that the force of her influence on contemporary artists is becoming more and more obvious, recent discussion has been engaged in finding a definition for her own unique style. Continue reading “Judy Glantzman, one painting and drawings”

Neil Grayson, press

June 1998

From Art in America

Neil Grayson at Dactyl Foundation –

In a group of new oil portraits and figure studies, 29-year-old Neil Grayson looks to the past, especially Rembrandt and Goya, for inspiration. Grayson is fixated on the contemporary individual going about his or her solipsistic, contemplative business. His figures, lost to the world, have the air of secular, 21st century saints.

Obscurities abound. In Ghost of a Man Thinking, a scumbly figure seated at a table emerges from the Rembrandtesque ground even as he retreats into it. His pose is ominously meditative, arms on the table, head in had; he is a Hamlet for our unthinking times. Brooding Figure features the same chiaroscuro around a man who rests his head directly on the table; a small paint can and brush are placed before him, on top of a barely discernible American flag. If this last tends to read as social commentary, well, it is and it isn’t; Grayson painted this canvas as a reaction to current events, but the flag also functions purely as a still-life element. While there are still traces of social commentary in Melancholia, the work is more poetic in effect, as the artist lovingly and bravely inspects an emaciated female figure for visible signs of life.

In his earlier work, Grayson presented the viewer with more overtly symbolic fables–a young girl gesticulating with a grotesquely elongated arm at a funeral pyre, a boy trying to keep his father from deploying a syringe raised above his track-ravaged arm. Today, Grayson is more interested in effecting a synthesis between the figurative and the abstract, to which end he is playing down inflammatory narrative and toning up his painterly technique.

But the real sea change in his new work is manifested in two completely different yet related paintings. The twice-life-sized Final Figure is a subtly frenzied rendering of an ambiguous, off-putting form that has deep iconological import for Grayson. A yellowy white, pod-like “thing” hangs in midair in the darkly luminous canvas, its “head” tilted to the left, its “body” ending in a spiraling tail. The form is reminiscent of the “Hanged Man” Tarot card as well as death-by-lynching. The artist commits himself to no single reading. In the mid-sized Light Triptych, a dim yellow glow shines through deep brown mist at the center of each panel-the fabled light at the end of the tunnel, perhaps, or the dawning of a new millennium? Grayson is a late-century illuminator of the confusions that surround not only our art but our lives.

–Gerrit Henry