I met Shalom Neuman a long time ago in New York. I was introduced to him by writer Michael Carter and brought into the world of fusion art and the writer's group The Unbearables. I walked into his gallery on Stanton Street one night, the Fusion Gallery and my senses were bombarded with colours, talking metallic fusion art robots, writers reading, and crazed nude wacky art be-ins. Unfortunately his New York gallery is now history, but it is slowly trans-mutating a fusion arts museum. Shalom Tomas Neuman was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He is the last surviving male of a large Jewish family, most of whom perished in Nazi Germany’s Holocaust. His family escaped from Prague towards the end of the war and emigrated to Haifa, Israel where he spent his childhood. The family emigrated to the U.S. when he was 12. He has lived in New York since the 60s' and has been a participant and witness to the transforming art movements in New York and the transformation of New York. He now makes his home in both New York and Prague.
Shalom Tomas Neuman has now returned to the city of his birth for a series of solo exhibitions focusing on his multidisciplinary/multi-sensory artwork. These exhibitions, which will include special guest artists from other countries, will take place from August through November, 2011. The six art spaces exhibiting Shalom’s artwork in Prague are: National Gallery in Prague - Veletžní palác, American Center, Galerie La Femme, Franz Kafka Museum, TINA B Contemporary Art Festival and NOVITO artitic pottery. Shalom asked me to film several events for a documentary film about Shalom and fusion art. I put together a film crew and we went to work. First at the opening of his major Prague exhibition: TALKING AT YOU - PROMLOUVÁNÍ at the National Gallery - Veletžní palác. It features more than 50 artworks from his Amerika series. The exhibit will run from 19.8. - 18.9. 2011. The opening night August 18th was quite amazing. All of his fusion face portraits talk to you. Some are done with motion detectors, so when you walk past them the fusion faces talks to you with one of the writers voice from The Unbearables. Other facial fusion portraits are activated when you push buttons on the surface. The exhibit also includes some of Shalom's controversial religious pieces. The opening night included a special guest French composer/musician Jean Voguet. Shalom worked various lights as Jean played his computerized synthesis compositions. We captured the night on film and were pleased with the results.
To describe the show better: The title of this series of artworks is a nod to Amerika, the early unfinished novel by Franz Kafka. This series of faces, described by international art critic and lecturer Robert Morgan as “...less portraits than archetypes - composites of much of the weirdness that the artist
encounters in human beings who hang-out around the vicinity of his studio in Brooklyn...” are created from modeling paste, acrylic paint and found objects surrounded by little plastic figures. There is the added dimension of sound in this series as each piece has either a set of sound chips or mp3 players with motion detectors that when activated, give each “Amerikan” a voice of his or her own.
To quote Shalom: “... As an artist I want to bridge the existing barriers between all disciplines such as painting, sculpture, light, sound, performance theatre, video and digital art. I want to make these individual genres indecipherable from one another by fusing them into a new genre of multidisciplinary and mulitisensory art that has endless creative possibilities...” Please click on highlighted names above and below for further information.
The next shows that we filmed was in September when various members (writers and performers) of the Unbearables from New York flew to Prague to perform with Shalom's art and unleash their Unbearable creativity on the folks of Prague. They were joined by some performers and writers from France and the Prague writer PEN group. We filmed the entire week at various locations and we all then ended up back at the Prague National Gallery for Shalom's Be-In, where the writers and performers for 45 minutes read and performed. They all interacted with Shalom's fusion face art portraits talking as loud as they could, which all reached a crescendo that sensitized the people who attended the be-in. I think we captured these as events in a special way and are looking forward to the making of this film. I put most of my energy into filming, but managed to take some photographs in between of some of the moments and of the special people below. I apoligize that I did not and could not include photos of all performers and writers that particiapted. To read Shalom's artist statement please go to: http://shalom-art.com/section/158402.html
The New York based singer and performer Carrie Beehan flew to Prague to attend and perform at Shalom's Be-in. She was a visual and singing treat out of another world and time. She sang, performed and filmed at the same time at the Be-In. I have included Carrie's bio and information:
Carrie Beehan: Singer/Songwriter/Performance Artist/Painter/Video Artist and resides in New York City - an established artist and performer in New York,
Germany, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, with a vocal and paint performance style that combines songs, sound-scape and paint media with performance and video. Her music pseudonym is Trystette. She performed at the BE IN Prague the pre release of two music art-videos in her upcoming Monarch Music Series and recently at Berlin's home of Techno -Tape Club - Tape Art Moderne Series, electronic cabaret Alt-Dis-Ektro at The Rover Soho in Manhattan, including a retrospective of her fused art and music from Berlin and New York , curated Solcycle Fusion Opera, New Ideas Festival - the New Museum, New York - and is featured in the 2011 Underground Howl of Menagerie II 'artist series'-
Her music videos are featured in curator Doron Polaks shows and educational institutions in Israel. She collaborates with Shalom Neuman regularly combining her mixed media skills with his filmic visions and is a regular performer at FusionArts Museum.
A marrionette musical is currently in production featuring Trystette music and performance with Vit Horejs from the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre. She exhibits regularly in New York Galleries and venues, often performing costumed as a character from her music videos/paintings she records viewer's response and interaction-further embedding this in the art through audio and video.
With drama, film and music education in London, Sydney and Berlin, Carrie's technical background had her working as a news and documentary editor for German television in Berlin during 1986-1992. During this time she realized "I can’t change the world and that I was too sensitive and emotional about all the tragedies. I needed to step back and sing and paint out all the pain and suffering I had seen in life in order to find beauty in the world again".
Applauded by the press for her unique vocal and lyrical approach to the break beat dance genre and coolly dramatic voice with her '98 debut album Tryst/Tryst (BMG/Universal) and the front woman of former early 90's satirical Berlin band Cadillac Crooning, after over a decade in Berlin, Germany, Carrie departed from the renowned Berlin Chamaeleon Variete Theater in the late 1990s lauded as "an exceptional artist whose high-class talent as singer and performer made it a joy for us to engage her". Featured on MTV and international radio with her first electronic Cocteaux Twins flavored album "Tryst" in '98, she left her Berlin home and gravitated towards the USA. An early member of New York artist's creative epicenter FEVA/HOWL festival she has merged her cabaret and electronic past with the funk of NY's finest musicians to present original, sensual and rocking melodic songs with extraordinary collisions of pop, electronic, funk, soul, fractured break-beats and cabaret. 2006 saw the release of Deepest Part of My Soul - performed together with the legendary bassist TM Stevens (Shocka Zooloo, James Brown, Pretenders, Joe Cocker, Billy Joel, Tina Turner) with veteran guitarist Gerry Eastman - played with New York notables like The Count Basie Orchestra, Frank Foster and Stanley Turrentine. The BE IN Prague also featured one of their music video collaborations for Shalom Neuman's RoboCat. The Monarch Series DVD and Cd is currently in production in New York.
These are two guitarists that played throughout the Be-in night meshing with assorted sounds and music. I will write more when I get information about who these musicians are.
One of the Pen writers reading along with the chatter of Shalom's talking sculpture portraits. I will write more about this woman when I receive information about her.
Now the Unbearables reading: The photo below is of Steve Dalachinsky. The New York downtown poet giving his rapid fire delivery of his poems. He lives in New York and is active in the poetry, music, art and music- free jazz scene. Please read more details about Steve by clicking on his name.
Another Unbearable conducting his fellow Unbearables is Ron Kolm. He is a poet, editor, activist and bookseller, based in New York City. Please read more about Ron by clicking on his name. In the background is a Czech PEN writer reading her work. I will write more about her and Ron with more details soon.
Unbearable writer and publisher Jim Fleming reading along with fusion pieces talking at you. I will write more about him when I receive the information.
Unbearble's Bonny Finberg entrancing a woman by her reading. I will write more about Bonny when I receive the information about her.
Maria Clark participated and performed silently moving on occasion to the various sounds all over the gallery room. The installations, videos and performances of Maria Clark are concerned with the problematics of frontiers - mental, physical, géographical. A work marked by an obsession with compartmentalisation.It develops themes of separation, gender (human/animal), line, in-between, territories, nations, borders, walls, obstacles, immobility, interzones, free space…
Her own body is the main medium she uses. Please click on her name to be led to her website.
Jean Voguet is a French composer and musician and came to Shalom's exhibit opening to play his music compositions. To find out further information about him, please click on his name which will take you to his website.
And finally above and below on the left is the exquisite Jana Tomaskova. With the help of Jana, Shalom's exhibit and events were made into reality. This was all made possible through her hard work and dedication to supporting his creativity She has an artistic management company called IAM Unlimited. They are providing services of artistic management, booking, productions of concerts, festivals, dance performances, workshops, events and PR including all relate services. She is also a damn good dancer!
Below Jana, Trysette and Shalom after the Be-in recovering.