TATTFOO: Your Neighborhood Master Composter

Posted in Arario New York by arariogallery on July 19, 2010

Worms? Dirt? DIY compost?! HM.

Master Composter, Tattfoo Tan, honored us with his presence this past Thursday evening (July 15th) and spoke to gallery patrons about creating your own compost bin at home. He actually maintains a bin here inside the gallery, live worms and all. Bring a small container to take a few free live worms home with you! Though I did not have the pleasure of listening in on the complete step-by-step procedure due to monitoring the gallery, I did happen to step in as he was saying how great worms are for your compost because they “sleep, eat, have sex, and poop all day”… really?? Even with a few chuckles from his audience, Master Tattfoo was completely serious and proceeded to pile on the layers of fruit peels, newspapers, and worms.

Post-discussion of composting, I spoke with him briefly and emailed a few more questions later on. I truly admire his work, as an artist and composter. He is what his website states: “Tattfoo, artist, cultural worker, social sculpture, relational aesthetic,” and more.

  • As stated on your website, you explore the individual in society. By creating eco-friendly practices and deriving projects from these practices, are you creating art or a way of life? Are your eco-projects a way of exploring individuals and their behaviors/reactions in society?

[TT] Yes, I’m blurring the boundary of art and life. Today, art is no longer a physical object. Even if it is an attractive art object, the artist might not even have his hand in the production of that object. I take a step  further by empowering the viewer to participate and design or work on the art itself. I became a facilitator and the participants is now also an artist and experience art like never before, where before, he or she is just a spectator and walk away and leave the art in the white cube gallery or museum. I believe, art should be able to share, create a chance to be rework, to reconfigure and enjoy by everyone and everywhere. Keep that in mind, I design my projects to be able to reincarnate in another location and another time.

When a participants join the project, he or she took a small leap of faith and an effort to make the project happen. That effort might be small, but that little effect is what we need to make the world a better place. In-directly the participants became the ambassador for the project and spread the green message and knowledge.

  • After exploring your website and witnessing your art pieces first hand along with your gallery talk, I feel that your art transpires into many different levels as you intend it to. For example, the making of art is a shared experience, projects are “ephemeral and conceptual in nature”, and in addition to yourself, you teach others to give back to nature and practice conservation. Do you keep specific goals in mind when creating your projects or are you surprised (and pleased) with the various outcomes?

[TT] I do set a certain expectation and plan accordingly, trying to communicate the message and trying to make fun in the process. In contradiction, I do welcome mistakes, unexpected perspective, opposing ideas and results. I do not strive to create a masterpiece. It is only an exercise and always improving as the project progress and redone, and challenge in another venue or medium.

When I start a project, I try to investigate which is the best medium to express the message. I usually will have to research and learn the skill to equip me to execute the project. I prefer to work this way, in contrast to the traditional notion of an artists in skillful worker in a medium ie: drawing, painting or photography. By do so, I believe if I can learn the know-how and acquire the skill easily, everyone else should be able do it too, making everyone an artist.

  • How long have you been teaching composting? Are the use of worms the only and best way to create an indoor compost?

[TT] I have been doing it for about 2 years. Vermi-compost is best technique for indoor composting. Well, at least it is the cheapest.

  • Are step by step procedures available on your website?

[TT] Yes, do log on to for step-by-step instruction.

  • Will your future projects continue to include eco-conscious practices or something else altogether?

[TT] S.O.S. Sustainable. Organic. Stewardship. had taken precedence in my art practice, but I do explore other topics and subjects in my other projects.
My next project will be S.O.S. Mobile Classroom where I retrofit a cargo bike with educational materials, a mobile gardena, even a chicken coop. I’ll be a green monger and will be visiting fair, school and community events to educate and change the world one peddle at a time. Do come to fi:af: Crossing the Line Festival, 2010,  Farm City, September 12 at The Invisible Dog Gallery in Brooklyn.

  • What can you tell us about next Thursday evening’s gallery talk?

[TT] If you are interested in growing your own food, or social justice, or the blurring the line of art and life, this is the time to have a discussion about these issues.
It will [be] a casual events, feels free to network bring postcard of your own efforts or shows, we [want] to get to know each other and sharing of knowledge and resources.

July 22, 7pm
Conversation about Urban Gardening with:

Derek Deckla, curator and activist
Andrew Casner, an urban farmer and artist
Daniel Bowman Simon, activist
Aki Baker, designer and activist

I want to thank Tattfoo for sharing his ecological knowledge on composting. His philosophy on blurring the lines between art and life are admirable, and something to think about with consideration of an artist’s audience. People want to be involved and understand either the artist’s message or the art itself, or both! Ananda Coomaraswamy used the Shakers as an example of art as a way of life or life as a way of art. No matter what a person does in life, if they focus and apply their energy into it (may it be a physician, a sculptor, a dancer, or a construction worker), what they produce and the act of producing are art.

Check out more of Tattfoo this Thursday and on his website (thorough info on his projects and plenty of photos).



Irrelevant: Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian

Posted in Arario New York by arariogallery on June 17, 2010

Irrelevant: Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian

July 1 – August 6th, 2010

Opening Reception July 1st, 6-8pm

Performances & Workshops every Thursday for the duration of the exhibition

Arario Gallery is very proud to present Irrelevant: Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian, an ambitious survey exhibition featuring the work of nearly fifty artists curated by Joann Kim and Lesley Sheng.

Irrelevant wishes to highlight artists who are more American than Asian, based in New York, and embedded in an expansive community of emerging artists struggling to show and succeed in this cutthroat city. You will not find paintings about the Cultural Revolution or Mao Zedong that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. You will not find manga-infused characters performing acts of hypersexuality nor will you find decorative miniature drawings with motifs embedded within a specific cultural history.

What you’ll find is a surging flow of creativity where artists actively engage in their practice, exploring the absurd within everyday experience, the use and misuse of materials both new and found, and the curiosity of defining artistic practice. Food and consumption is considered within an urban agricultural environment, and social interaction is taken out of norm and reenacted in refreshing alternative ways. Pictured narratives gear toward a dark and isolated realm and obsession is the source behind abstracted images.

A major focus of this exhibition is to formulate a community, building a foundation for artists to gather and exchange ideas and experiences. There is an endless array of amazing underrepresented artists in NY, thriving yet unheard. Through this exhibition we get to see artists engaging with their given role and their interests within a particular medium, exploring on both conceptual and idealistic levels with painting, photography, performance, sculpture and installation. We get to see abstraction within the everyday and the everyday within abstraction. We get to see materials unfolded, manipulated, reworked and dysfunctioned. We get to feel self-conscious and hyper aware of our stance as viewers, where time and space is altered and questioned.

Irrelevant is a friendly and humorous, and somewhat ridiculous, rejection of a neurotic art market and its obsession with specifying artists to a particular culture and ethnicity. This exhibition purifies and de-labels the artist as Asian, by labeling the artist as Asian, to be shown inside a contemporary Asian art gallery.

Artists: Seong Min Ahn, Shin Young An, Sophia Chai, Louis Chan, Karen Chan, Rona Chang, Gigi Chen, Yoon Cho, Micah Ganske, Hyoungsun Ha, Geujin Han, Takashi Horisaki, Jane V Hsu, Hidenori Ishii, Hong Seon Jang, Kyoung Eun Kang, Heige Kim, Seung Ae Kim, Nancy Kim, Hein Koh, Shizuka Kusayanagi, Amy Fung-yi Lee & Caroline Jung-ah Park, JaeEun Lee, Sinae Lee, Soo Im Lee, Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, Pixy Liao, Juri Morioka, Tadashi Moriyama, Joel Morrison, Dominic Neitz, Christian Nguyen, Asuka Osawa, Eung Ho Park, Youngna Park, Jung Eun Park, R&D, Ruijun Shen, Satomi Shirai, Hidemi Takagi, Tattfoo Tan, Kikuko Tanaka, Jason Tomme, Mai Ueda, Kako Ueda, InJoo Whang, Wenjie Yang, Mika Yokobori, Yejin Yoo, Jayoung Yoon, Seldon Yuan

Gallery hours are Monday thru Friday 10-6pm and by appointment.

Contact for more information.


July 1st

6-8pm Opening Reception

Mai Ueda

Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian

Mai Ueda sees situation as art and personality as performance, she will be highlighting those Local

Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian during the opening of the show to

be seen as performance.

Takashi Horisaki

Handmade Communication

Dimensions variable, 2004
Viewer interactive performance
Latex, powder, cotton, chair, table

A group of artists apply latex to participants’ hands and peel it off while discussing their hands, personal histories and personalities. After the hands are stuffed and labeled with a tag bearing the participant’s signature, they are installed on the wall of the site as a record of the performance and participants.

Jane V Hsu

What We Can Do in Florida

Single channel video, live voice & electronic music

Jane Hsu (video), Juan Calderon, Chia En-Hsieh (electronic instruments) Suzanne Gughrie (voice)

In a bright palette of anxious energy, a 7-foot latex Peanut man “What Can We Do in Florida,” is a

video, voice, and musical performance based on the gestures of Mr. Peanut, who hops to the rhythm

of humidity and decay in subtropical Miami.   The piece reveals life’s unseen predators as we become

highly mesmerized and hypnotized by terrible things.  The vocal performance is a collection of found

memories and record conversations from hotel holidays in Florida.   Mr. Peanut is supported in part

from the Peanut Pals, a global association of Mr. Peanut collectors and enthusiasts.

Hidemi Takagi

Blender Project

Blender is a lens into New York’s immigrant communities and cultures. The artist will have an interactive show using “Blender Cart” in which she gives out samples of various international food and culturally connected products with Information notes about immigrants and communities to the public to take home and to learn about that culture through these food imports.

July 8th

7pm Kyoung Eun Kang

In & Out

The plastic back and cotton candy traverse the inside and outside of the artist in an act of swallowing, pulling out, and eating by herself and by others. Through the performance, the artist presents her identity as a shifting and moving state that is never fixed or preestablished.

July 15th

7pm Tattfoo Tan

Composting Know-how with Master Composter Tattfoo Tan

Have questions about starting your own composting bin? Having problems maintaining a healthy bin? Learn from the Master Composter on duty.

8pm Jane Hsu

Platypus,” They Said

Single channel video, percussion, bassoon & electronic music

Jane V Hsu (video), Juan Calderon, Chia En-Hsieh (compositions) Michael Perdue (copper pots),

Annie Lyle (bassoon)

A group of platypus pups are born to the improvised music of the bassoon, copper pots, and

electronic instruments.  “Platypus, They Said,” performed by The Meanwhile, a New York based

contemporary music ensemble that experiment with familiar harmonic language and unexpected

combinations of instruments.   The platypus is a venomous animal that finds its prey with

electrolocation, the ability to sense electric fields.  The title of the piece is derived from Duras’ play,

“Destroy, She Said,” about the interactions of three strangers staying in an empty hotel amongst the

possible chaos of war.

July 22nd

7pm Karen Chan

Invisibility: Captured on Super 8mm Film

This workshop will introduce the art of super 8mm filmmaking by taking a look at some of the most

provocative and important works shot on super 8mm from the 1960s-70s. Works by Vito Acconci,

Dennis Oppenheim, and Bruce Baille, are amongst the pieces that will be shown, as well as select

works by Karen Chan, who will be leading the workshop. An open discussion will follow on the

concepts, styles, and techniques used, as well as the special characteristics of the super 8 medium

that allows room for exploration. Super 8mm cameras will be on hand and participants will learn the

basics of camera functions and shooting. The workshop will close with a group collaboration in the

making of a film on the theme: invisibility.

$10 Suggested Donation

8pm Tattfoo Tan

Conversation about Urban Gardening

Conversation with a round table of urban gardeners and artists that are involved in the green movement.

July 29th

7pm Kikuko Tanaka

Tragic Bambi: A Mother’s Tears

As a part of the ongoing series of work, which evolves around a recurring motif of urination on Bambi,

an interactive performance/installation, “A Tragic Bambi: Mother’s Tears” developed out of an image

that persisted in the artist’s mind: the image of a mother in a Japanese traditional apron, who keeps gluing pearls on a decapitated head of Bambi. The attire worn in the piece is a stereotypical apron for Japanese blue-color mothers, which the artist didn’t have but wished to have had in her childhood. In the piece, the artist transforms herself into an object of love, merging the boundary of the self/other and reality/imagination. The idea of the fantasy mother, whose existence relays on its absence, resonates with the very concept of utopia, which manifests throughout the piece in various forms, such as the  Crystal Palace, the Museum on top of the mountain, androgynous objects, phallic mother, marriage, state of trance through repetition and symbiotic experience. The basis of the piece is “necrophilia.” It is based on my secret romantic/aesthetic affairs with dead writers, artists and artworks.

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