Union Square, Manhattan, NYC
There was a full house last night at Red White & View's inaugural New York event. Carried over from Israel by founder Michael Wein, with help from a host of friends including Slideluck Potshow founder Casey Kelbaugh, the event was a huge success. Over 300 people attended—a mix of artists, art lovers, and those who came just to hang out. RW&V's theme was "Nude York," inspired by Spencer Tunick's installation in the Dead Sea involving a huge number of nude volunteers. Artsicle artists Joana Ricou, Alexander Motyl, Myles Bennet, and Mia Berg, Erica Simone and Andrew Einhorn showed photography, video, mixed media and painting.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales benefited the nonprofit organization Slideluck Potshow, which began as a gathering in Kelbaugh's Seattle home in 2000. SLPS joins people together to eat and look at the work of local, emerging artists. Like RWV, Slideluck functions as both a community-building event while giving exposure to emerging talent in the arts. Since coming to New York in 2004, Slideluck has set the Guinness World Record for Largest Potluck Dinner on Earth, and has worked with renowned artists such as Chuck Close, Gregory Crewdson, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, and Shepard Fairey.
Both events emphasize the growth of a locally based network, bringing people together in a friendly setting that is authentic, accessible and non-commercial. We spoke with Michael Wein, founder and Creative/Executive Director about the origins of RW&V, "Naked Sea," and the move to New York:
How did Red White & View begin?
Red White & View began when I went to a night of Ethiopian Art and Culture in South Tel Aviv. I met a handful of artists and the creator of the event, Nir Degoo—an Ethiopian immigrant. I noticed that it wasn't well attended outside of the Ethiopian community, and in an effort to bring these wonderful artists to a larger population, contacted a wine bar in an artist colony outside of Tel Aviv. Hence the name Red White & View. Nir and I, plus a handful of hosts and artists did their first event, which was attended by over 200, and it subsequently grew from there to include emerging artists residing in Israel. The ninth event will be on April 8th in Jaffa, Israel.
You've had a lot of success with this event in Tel Aviv. Why did you choose New York as the next location?
Easy question—we have a wonderful symbiotic relationship with Slideluck here in NYC and I relocated from Tel Aviv to Manhattan ten months ago. Easy as pie, see!
How do you see Spencer Tunick's work as being linked to Red White & View?
Spencer Tunick did what I consider to be the most important installation art exhibit over the past decade in Israel. RW&V helped fund it with our events and we were really proud of the work that Ari Fruchter (one of the RW&V Israel Hosts) did to bring this to fruition. It was a real labor of love between Ari, Spencer and their respective teams. It really broke down barriers in Israel and showcased the beauty of the Dead Sea and the Israeli people. Because Spencer is a more than an artist, he is a benefactor of others in the field, he was enthusiastic about letting RW&V and SLPS exhibit his behind the scenes shots of "Naked Sea". We are grateful for his involvement in the event and as our guest host.
How did the partnership with Slideluck Potshow come about?
I was introduced to Casey Kelbaugh, the founder of Slideluck Potshow, when I relocated to NYC. We liked the vibe at SLPS - they do really great community building all over the world through art, food and teaching underprivileged youth about the beauty of photography. I have partnered even more closely with them and am absolutely amazed at how "buttoned up" Casey and Carly and SLPS are with the curation and execution of exhibits all over the world. I've never seen a more dynamic, fun, professional crew. And they really love the craft, which is inspiring to everyone they meet.
How did you go about connecting with the participating artists? How does the work of each relate to the others'?
We typically put out a casting call through various artistic communities (like Artsicle—thanks!). The artists really seem to like our pop-up events, in part because of the business model and crowd of collectors it attracts. We also have a long list of people who have approached us for future events. Typically we select a very general theme, and in selecting artists we make sure we enjoy their art but leave the ultimate selection to them. Most of the time we have a great mix of mediums, which keep our crowds coming back and expanding too. Important for me to say, we are all volunteers at RW&V and absolutely no money passes through our hands at all. Every cent or shekel goes to the artists and our charity, SLPS.
What kind of community do you envision forming around this event?
Our end goal is to foster a sense of community and togetherness for our artists and art lovers. Choosing this creative career path is really a labor of love, just like RW&V - so meshing our good business sense and an artist's passion is a win win. We also have toyed around with helping the artist gain professional guidance, mentoring and help on the business end—through a potential network of agents, as we really feel that it can help "make or break" an emerging artists career.