Experience Michael Alan’s Living Installation
A Critical Advisory to the Creative Class of NYC: Experience Michael Alan’s Living Installation, Immediately.
There are artists and visionaries, creatively brilliant minds on all sides of me every day in this city. We live in a time of love, narcissism, self-importance, and the desire to connect with one another, but never at the potential cost of losing the piece we’ve got. This gut instinct to survive on the whims of creation threads us together. A combination of tough love and ruthless self-preservation is necessary: to be a member of the creative class in today’s New York is to grind oneself against the grain. It is to accept that the system is not quite built to take care of us, but also to believe that somehow, the connections we make between us are powerful enough to sustain our culture.
It has developed into a bit of a conflictive ideology, the desire for connectedness rubbing uncomfortably against our unwillingness to talk about how to make that happen, but apparently we don’t mind. It comes with the territory—right? I would argue no. It is ultimately a passive cop-out that will inevitably result in the total extinction of any semblance of a creative community here in NYC.
I implore you, fellow members of this artist class, unrecognized by a capitalist system that only acknowledges class-status in relation to economics, go out of your way to know each other. The day-to-day realities of this mercurial environment have caused us to constantly question, self-evaluate, and self-censor, cultivating a plague of contradictions that at once drives us to create and paralyzes us to the point of inaction. I am here to let you know that my outlook is hopeful, and that after meeting one of New York’s prolific contemporary artists, my optimism is at an all-time high.
Michael Alan is an anomaly wrapped in a conundrum, and he may be the only (un)reasonable solution to this equally complex moment in which we find ourselves, “we” being the gasping-for-breath but hopeful creative class. Look, I’m not into math, and it’s not a straightforward equation, but this artist pushes the boundaries further and goes harder than any human person could reasonably be expected to do. Maybe the answer is in the unreasonable. Maybe the answer is in the wild, magical art of Michael Alan.
The untamed spirit of this man’s vision is to create a visual language that burns down the walls we build around one another and ourselves. His bizarre brand of visual, tactile, active communication mixed with art making is a physical, emotional, silly, and these days, a painful endeavor for Michael. Incredibly, the physical pain does not cause him to loosen his iron grip on the positive and the beautiful, on love, on his mission to produce a new kind of space in which his only demand is that the snap judgments we make about each other, comprised of fear and insecurity, are dissolved at the door.
To carry out this mission, Michael created the Living Installation, which will spark to life to celebrate its 11th year as a collective force of artistic genius on June 21st at Succulent Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He will perform for the first time since a brutal spine injury, various and quite serious medical situations over the past two years, and the emotional toll that naturally accompanies such occurrences. Don’t get it twisted though—he never stopped making art, and whether from a hospital bed, the edge of consciousness, or the brink of death, he knows that his art allows him to stay living, and my inclination is because it has never really been for himself. He claims, “I rather be a fireman.”
He does not do this because it is comfortable, he does it because it is the only way he knows how to demonstrate that we can trust each other, unconditionally, and that regardless how ridiculous or impossible it seems in the moment, we will always live through it.Yes, even if somebody drops their pants in the middle of a crowded show. Yes, even when Michael experiences nerve damage and continues to perform for nine more hours. Even in Spain, when his hat was set on fire with a blowtorch during a performance. Even after he was arrested and jailed for 7 days simply because of photographs of his show and art supplies in his car, which were both allegedly evidence of graffiti making.
The sacrifice in all this cannot be understated. If a person can endure what Michael has, and whether despite or because of it, can continue to accept with open arms the responsibility of taking care of others on the soul level, the very least the rest of us can do is participate. He does it for the unconditional love of shared experiences that have the power to connect, inspire, and motivate in ways that simply cannot be accomplished by any person alone.
The strength and power of a creative community is not lost, it is vivid and living and breathing in the work of Michael Alan.
The captivating drawings that Alan creates constantly are a tribute to the way he interprets the colorful energies that flow from each and every body. He draws this raw energy as he sees it, and the drawings are based on his painted bodies. A major driving force behind his artwork is to express that we are always a living installation. That every moment of movement is worth drawing about.
At Succulent Studios, the Living Installation called “Alice In Wonderland XXX” will feature 9 nude female models, as well as male models as creatures lurking around in the corners. Alan himself will perform as the mad hatter, and will bounce around like a wild thing between his 9 muses, the live music he will produce, his interactions with the audience, and only the future moment knows what other kinds of unpredictable things will go on. He says, “Whatever happens will happen.”
Michael describes that the nine models will exist in a virtually hypnotic state for the performance, experiencing only their own hyper-conscious efforts to find themselves atop the cube and limited space they are provided. They will go “down the rabbit hole,” so to speak, and will seek to discover those things that we forget about ourselves as we grow into our protective adult skins. Inside Alan’s mystical art space, we can discard anything we believe to understand about reality and become exactly who we envision ourselves to be.
Michael chose Succulent Studios as the space to perform for the first time after his spinal injury because it makes him feel comfortable and grateful. Sek3, owner and founder of the space, shares Michael’s vision to uplift the community as a strong proponent of graffiti culture. Coming up in the gritty 1980s and 90s New York, the pair are first-hand witnesses to exactly how bad—and how devilishly good—the city can be to those prepared to stake it out and claim it. To create something out of nothing. To fight to the top, get there swinging, and to tirelessly lift all the people they love right up there with them.
Propagated by the authorities for decades as vandals, criminals, and hoodlums, I am devastated that these labels continue to stick around. The independent public art culture that they have supported since they were kids was not extinguished with the paint-proof trains or the excessive graffiti law, and after spending some time with the accomplished minds behind it all, I understand exactly why. They are overflowing with generosity, pulsing with brilliant ambitions, relentless in their drive towards building positive community, equality, justice, and the freedom to express. Not exactly criminal intentions, if you ask me.
Come out and share with us and celebrate life, challenge yourself to experience something that might be uncomfortable, recognize it as positive and powerful. We really hope to see you there. Join in Michael Alan’s art magic movement.
4pm-1am, Saturday June 21st, Succulent Studios, 67 West Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
L train to Bedford, 15-minute walk.
G train to Greenpoint Av, 3 blocks.
Reserve your spot to the earth-shattering event here, space is limited: http://www.michaelalanart.com/art/upcoming-projects
Article is written and by Kara La Guerrera
Kara writes for her blog Artinthestreetsnyc.com and contributed this article for Streets Are Saying Things