In and around New York

Xquisite Corpse Act One - Today by Mirena Rhee

Xquisite Corpse Act One - Today

As part of Xquisite Corpse Act One I wore a white canvas dress on the streets of Manhattan and asked New Yorkers from all walks of life to write me a message. From the delivery guy on East 51st street, people waiting to be seated for lunch on the Upper East side, the doormen of Radio City hall, patrons waiting for their limousines at the Art Fairs, to the amazing person who literally dragged me inside the Armory Show, to visitors of Scope - New York, to a bar on 6th ave, to the cashier at Trader Joe's on 23rd street.. In 15 languages and almost 200 messages, we wrote the poem of our collective subconscious and I called it Today. Thus, the Xquisite Corpse Poem was written and Xquisite Corpse Act One was complete. 

I took the term Xquisite Corpse quite literally. With Corpse meaning “body”, as in physical structure, with the root of the word going back to Latin corpus “body".
This work is about the body, the body as a landscape, and whatever surrounds the body, the reality that surrounds the body, also as a landscape. As the body swims through reality it makes wakes and it changes it in someway.

Click to see the Xquisite Corpse Statement…..

Just returned from the astonishing exhibition of Delacroix paintings at the Met by mirena

And I didn't see even one third of the show, and there was another exhibition composed entirely of his drawings.  

I had such a punch in the stomach that threw me back to where I came from to begin with. To the very beginning of why i want to do art in the first place.  Delacroix's world is my world. The world of Michelangelo, Durer, Leonardo, Rembrandt, the greatest artists in the world that ever lived, and their spatial and chromatic sensibilities. This is why I like brown. And marble.



Portrait de l'artiste Delacroix Eugène (1798-1863) Paris, musée du Louvre

I had such a head spinning experience and there was so much emotion in me and so much taking in of paintings I couldn't sit still at the exhibition and will be coming back many times. Delacroix will be my beacon and mentor for the next few months. I will come back to see his work, and his words.



I reflect on why i think beauty is important. Beauty is important because it transcends and transports, and my own duty in this world is to produce as much of it as I can, and cause as much of it as I can in the world.

As I sit here reflecting on Delacroix, I think a manifesto of sorts, of what to do. I will do relentless beauty through works large and small. I will work with ideas large and small, that reverberate. I will put enough power, intellectual and worldly so these ideas have enough trajectory to shoot upwards.

I reflected on what I want to achieve with my Memory Replacement World Trade Center installation and performance - I want to overwhelm with beauty and color and life, with a human touch, with a personal stroke and with the closeness and within the personal space of a human being.

The greatest capital in the world is the human capital by mirena

  me with the Mayor of new york

Around this time last year I had a chance to volunteer for the Mayor's campaign and canvassed and knocked on doors on the Upper West Side, between 90th and 101 st street and between Broadway and Riverside drive.

In the span of one day I got to meet a South African racist who literally was rolling down the street in his vile opinions and because we are a tolerant society no one beat him up. In the same day I got many complaints from decent citizens about "the homeless people" where I couldn't believe my ears that in the century of the Space Odyssey someone may consider that a certain human being has less value than another.

Many in the latte holding crowd thought that homeless people are simply out to cause inconvenience in accessing venues that dispensed said lattes.

No one complained that we have too many shops. I am sure no one will complain if instead of homeless we have piles of gold and diamonds on the streets. They will be much better looking piles, right? And not talking and certainly not disturbing the paradise we have built for all the good looking people.

I believe that the moment we decide that human beings who are down on their luck are somehow less worthy, of love, affection, attention and consideration with dignity, we are lost as a society and we are back to being simply a beast. Beast do not care for the injured and the sick but we humans should.

The amount of consideration and respect we pay to simply dug up dirt that was smelted, and cut up crystals, the care we take to put these on display and in shops, it is to me ridiculous and surreal. At the same time we want to put out of sight and out of mind humans who literally took millions of years of evolution to make and whose position of being on the street is only special today; but we have lived in huts and in the dirt for thousands of years, how can we forget what it is to just be human.

Our humanity  is our greatest capital. The greatest capital in the world is the human capital. My dream is that in 500 or 1000  years differences will be considered obsolete and humanity will be comfortable enough to dispense with slavery to the material world. And will dispense with the material measures.



back to my campaign and the human stories of New York...

My main task was to talk to people - in the street and also to knock on the doors in apartment buildings in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world.

Only one person out of many threatened me with police and literally threw me out. But I had many and wonderful conversations with many people who were simply happy to talk. I remember meeting a Bulgarian-American-Jewish man who told me that every year he used to go to his home town, by the seaside in Bulgaria; he used to rent a hotel room from which he could see his childhood home. He said they built a hotel now which blocks the view so he hasn't been back in five years.

Another man shared that their father passed but his values lived on and signed for my campaign. ....................

To sum up my feelings on this matter - I feel it is time we take a good look at our values, of what we consider worthy.  Why do we care about gold and diamonds, why do we care about handbags? Why is a sack with straps that important so we put it in nicely air-conditioned rooms and well lit while humans are out in the elements? I can tell you right now a pile of gold is probably only worthy if it has been buried with a mummy. I think instead of saying someone has a heart of gold we should say they are simply human.

The greatest capital in the world is the human capital. In fact I believe there is no other capital to be had at all.

A Great night in Chelsea by mirena

One of the greatest things about art is not just the fact it pleases us but it transcends everyday life. No one wants a life mundane and ordinary, so mundane and ordinary art is short lived. I am not saying a goat has a meaningful place in art, i am saying art is bigger than life and large enough to fit anything, with enough will. Thursday nights in Chelsea are one of the best nights in the city in terms of energy and crowd.  Everyone is back in the city and everyone loves to hang out in a beautiful and fun environment with like minded people. I had a blast and looking forward to more shows, and more art. Because ultimately art saves us - imagine we may be the only creatures in the universe that do it.


EMINENT DOMAIN Exhibition - organized by Scotto Mycklebust by mirena

An epic eminent art party and exhibition Scotto Mycklebust threw at 524 West 26th in New York. The work I liked was by a Pakistani artist - painting on carpets and performance with a shroud made of bullet casings. The work is about the particular types of violence we practice in the US which is school shootings and other targeted decimations like the Orlando massacre. In Pakistan, violence is what they refer to as "honor killings".

Violence is very popular and practiced widely in the world today, although on a very human level we  all agreed it is completely senseless. Violence, although completely absurd, is very popular today for three reasons:

  1. it is very profitable and
  2. allows for complete control of another human being or an entire state
  3. it is easy

Because you do not need hard work or study, or the labors of love, because love is difficult. Violence and guns, on the other hand, are cheap and easy.  All you have to do is wave a gun and you are instantly in control of another human being and their entire world. No need for labor, no need of any sort of skill - these days in the US even toddlers kill people, inadvertently.

Practicing non violence is very difficult, labor and love intensive, and deadly.

Just look at the lives or Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, both bringing dramatic changes to the world. Because killing is easy and non-violence very difficult because requires talking, love, sharing - all the hard things.





Green, trees, nature, ponds... twigs by mirena

Here I met a turtle, in such a place it's very difficult to think the world needs any art, all the best was already made here. I get into this Thoreau mode, and can't stop looking at the grass, all the twigs, and how well composed the colors are, and how everything is always harmonious and pretty much complete. I realized I understood why painters painted the same scene over and over, the same exact place perhaps with different lighting, because Nature has everything already, can't be beat when it comes to creativity and beauty.  

The shadows are so well placed, the twigs, the colors. Marvelous patterns, never to be repeated.


Jackson Pollock MTA by mirena

In the greatest city in the world art just happens :) New York's MTA - Metropolitan Transportation Agency which is in charge of the subway is making art too. Currently the MTA is under a lot of pressure and this took place at the Columbus Circle subway station around 11pm. The workers probably thought I am photographing them to complain. Nothing of that sort.

Pollock's famous painting just a few blocks away: .