HAYP takes a trip to the USA…

You may have been wondering what the HAYP Pop Up Gallery team has been up to since our last event in September, “LOVE (ICA) Is electrIC Again”. For the past two weeks HAYP curator and executive director, Anna Gargarian, traveled stateside for work (and a little bit of play) to Boston and New York. Here’s an update by Anna as she reflects on the highlights from her trip: 

New York, New York

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My time in New York was brief but intense. Although neighborhoods and loci of activity shift, the beauty and awesomeness of the city never change. What stood out from my trip were two very different, but equally interesting museums: The Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). 

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The Cooper Hewitt re-opened its doors in 2014 at its 5th avenue location, the 64-roomed Andrew Carnegie Mansion; its home ever since 1976. The museum’s historic architecture offers a stark contrast to the touch-screen tables, large-scale projections, and personal design “pens” that allow visitors to engage with historic and contemporary design objects in a unique and interactive museum experience.

 

Tapping the back of your individual “touch pen” to the description of an object allows you to “save” the object to your personally curated collection of online images. The tip of the pen allows you to draw, select, and play on the tables located at the center of the mansion’s main atrium and corridors. Visitors are invited to make and save their own designs inspired by various objects from the collection. 

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The MAD museum was originally founded in 1956 under the name the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. In 2008, the museum reopened under its more catchy name, MAD (the Museum of Art and Design) to embody a broader spectrum of interests that include design, crafts, and artisanal practice, but also architecture, fashion, technology, interior design, and the performing arts. Personally, what stood out was the museum’s display of traditional, artisanal “crafts” (something you’d imagine your grandmother making) in a bold, fresh, and contemporary way. Also unique to this museum is that it not only exhibits works, but also gives you insight into the process of craft making with its open studio artist residencies. 

I loved the exhibit “Toxic Seas” by artists, Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. The exhibit featured large-scale crocheted coral reefs that often incoorporated bits of plastic and reusable materials as a commentary on the pollution we produce and its effects on the marine environment.

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Also noteworthy, the individual pieces were collectively crocheted by women from all over the world who contributed sections of the work. The feminist undertones of elevating what is traditionally “women’s work” to the museum gallery is an added plus. Each artwork wall label included the names of each contributor and her country of origin. This reminded me of our own feminist, “Craftivist” group in Armenia, “Free the Needle”. Maybe they should get involved? Just a thought…

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Another surprising exhibit was artist, Chris Antemann’s, “Forbidden Fruit”, a collection of risqué ceramic figurines inspired by 18th century ceramic decorative arts. Although I’m not usually partial to the ceramic arts, Antemann’s keen sense of humour, brilliant use of form and color, and her masterful use of a “high society” decorative objects to show “debased” and provocative subject matter were completely engaging and charming. I will think twice before judging ceramic figurines in the future…

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Of course, New York City wouldn’t be complete without some late night adventures with old friends….. so this happened in an abandoned factory somewhere in Brooklyn: 

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Back in the more green lands of Great Barrington, Massachusetts:

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While in my home state of Massachusetts, I travelled westward to Great Barrington (about 2 hours west from Boston) to meet Suzi Banks Baum, the artist I had been Skyping/emailing/facebook messaging for the past three months in order to design and coordinate the upcoming HAYP project, “New Illuminations”. I’ve mentioned Suzi and our project before, but I hadn’t actually physically met her until last week! And what a pleasure…

Suzi is a book artist among many other things. That is, she makes handmade artist books and has been teaching book binding techniques (including coptic stitch binding which she’ll teach at our workshop this November) for many years. For Suzi, handmade books are a unique tool and means of expression for writing, illustrating, and most of all story telling. We are in the process of fundraising for our 4-day workshop and 10-day exhibition in Gyumri this November (donate here!). And another bonus of this visit, I got to reconnect with Dana Walrath, the artist I worked with to curate “Mapping Identity: Figures, Borders, and Nations” for AGBU Exhibitions in Yerevan.

Celebrating 25 years of AIWA

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Arts & Entertainment Panel: Sona Movsesian (Conan O’Brien Presents), Anush Yemenidjian (Hollywood Reporter), Teni Melidonian (The Academy), and Nora Armani (SR Film Festival). Photocredits: AIWA.

Next in Massachusetts was my attendance and participation at the AIWA 25th anniversary conference, a truly amazing three-day event of inspiring talks, presentations, and conversations with women leaders from the US, Armenia, Turkey, Argentina, Lebanon and more. We even had a few celebrity speakers (always fun)!

Panel discussions were divided by category including: Global Leadership and Women, Arts and Entertainment, Entrepreneurship and Business, and Leaders in Politics. Keynote speakers included Linda Hill from the Harvard Business School (one of my favorites), Seline Dogan from the Turkish Parliament, Maro Martirosian of Armenia’s Women’s Resource Center, and Katherine Sarafian, longtime producer at Pixar Animation Studios. 

Re-occuring themes in the talks were: implicit bias and gendered perspectives, approaches to leadership, how to “break the silence” and empower women leaders, and various tools for leveraging one’s skills and how to be an effective leader. 

 

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My panel! Photocredits: Juliana Del Aguila

The speakers were many, and inspiring, and HAYP Pop Up Gallery was thrilled and honored to be a part of the conversation as a member of the “Business and Entrepreneurship” panel. Co-panelists included Hasmik Asatrian-Azoyan of Basen hotels in Sisian, Juliana Del Aguila of Karas Wines, and Vera Manoukian of Starwood Hotels. Our dynamic panel addressed questions like: 1) What are your biggest challenges, and how have you overcome them?, 2) What specificities are unique to your industry? etc.

The AIWA conference ended with a deluxe Gala, complete with awards, inspiring speeches, good food, and dancing. Below is a (blurry) picture from the evening.

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Artist Studio Visit:

And of course my trip to the states wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to an artist studio…. introducing: Marsha Nouritza Odabashian.

Marsha is among the many artists who inhabit Boston’s South End artist district. The space itself was invigorating: a large open studio on the fifth floor of a typical Boston “brown stone” building. Her studio mates include an Italian painter, and an American costume designer and tutu-maker.

Marsha works in oil paint, ceramics, acrylic, and other experimental media and uses just as wide a variety of surfaces for her works, including all types of paper, sponge, canvas, wood and more. Her work explores identity and shows reoccurring motifs of flora and fauna (based on reality but often times distorted into fantastical elements), figural processions, and sewing needles (a commentary on woman’s work that underlies the tool’s dual function as weapon). 

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If you haven’t already noticed, Marsha’s body of work is highly inspired by Armenian manuscripts….so of course a bell went off in my head for HAYP8.0’s “New Illuminations- Codex”. Let me just say that my suitcase back to Yerevan was slightly heavier than when I left…. (hint, hint).

What next?

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Coming up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts is our fundraising event for “New Illuminations”, hosted and organized by artist, Suzi Baum. The fundraiser will be on October 25, 2016 at the Elixir in Great Barrington. Come and join Suzi with an open heart (and an even more open wallet) to learn more about the New Illuminations project.

Meanwhile, in Yerevan the HAYP team will be moving forward full-throtle to find an exhibition space and key partnerships with experts and collaborators in Yerevan and in Gyumri. More coming soon!

Keep checking out the hype with HAYP Pop Up for news on this and many more projects.

A happy look-back on HAYP3.0

Our third art exhibit “The Scale of Life” finished last week, on September 7. 

After having installed and removed dozens of spotlights, hanged and unhooked the artworks, and organized 5 events over 10 days of exhibition, you might think this should now be holiday time for us… but it isn’t – the HAYP Team is on the move again!

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Taking down the exhibit. Credits: HAYP

Last week, after (well-deserved) celebration following the end of the exhibit, we were already on the lookout for new locations, and actively planning our next exhibition.

But before we go on and announce our upcoming project, let us first give credit where credit is due: none of our HAYP shenanigans would be possible without the help and support of so many people around us.

Thank you!

From the very beginnings of HAYP, we were lucky enough to collaborate with like-minded people who helped us pop up around Yerevan. For this exhibition in particular, we teamed up with DZOOK Pop Up Restaurant on our opening night – they provided a delicious culinary experience for our guests through a special fish tasting that was in perfect accordance with our exhibition theme inspired by water and its mythical creatures. The degustation was paired with a variety of delicious white wines, courtesy of Karas wines.

It was also amazing to work with Yerevan Residence. Irina and Nvart from reception were always helpful and smiling, occasionally even providing coffee during much needed work hours! Obviously, transforming empty penthouses into trendy art galleries is what we do, but the EL media team also took wonderful photos of our opening night, and will feature us in their bilingual “El Style” magazine this month. Exciting!

For the third time in a row, The ScREenery generously lent us their projector and hosted a film event in our space. The Luys Foundation team was kind enough to lend us dozens of chairs for the whole duration of the exhibit.

Thank you also to Green Bean, Artbridge, and Calumet for helping us sell and distribute tickets to opening night.

Artists, performers

Seven artists re-interepreted the vishap with different approaches and media – Melissa Finkenbiner, LUSKA, Félix Romanos, Moushegh Mkhitaryan, Avetik Vardanyan, Hrachya Vardanyan, and Alice Dunseath. Thank you also to ARLOOPA for generously sponsoring their programming work that added tech to LUSKA’s amazing mural. This was a definite hit at opening night, along with the electronic music performance by Joseph Zakarian, our special DJ from Amman who generously contributed to our project.

During our event week, the performers each brought a new crowd to the gallery, and helped interpret the exhibition from different perspectives – an archeology talk, an avant-garde theater performance, contemporary dance, and sound installation…

On Wednesday, Armen Martirosian gave a concise talk about pagan Armenia during the Urartean period, before engaging in a conversation with the public. He showed us the amazing artifacts he and the archeological team have been discovering at the site of Karmir Blur… and probably stirred up a few archeological vocations right then and there.

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Armen Martirosian’s talk. Photo credits: HAYP

On Friday, Aram Atamian presented “in her plenty”, a solo theater performance that left many spectators with their jaws floored… among other limbs, because with nearly 100 people attending, we couldn’t secure seats for everyone.

We were so awed by Aram’s poignant, witty performance that we decided to run it again the next night. This time around the vibe amongst our smaller group was more intimate, leading to a spontaneous talk-back with the performer who explained how he came up with the idea of mixing Shakespeare, gay chat-roulette and Beyoncé in one piece. 

Caution: below video has adult content.

We hosted a very special performance on Monday for our closing night. On the rooftop of the gallery, BA-AR-DIA Dance Studio (and therapy) performed a contemporary piece choreographed by Hasmik Tangyan, with a sound installation by LSD. The result was an eerie, beautiful show, with Mount Ararat and Yerevan sunset-lit roofs as a background.

We were happy to get media coverage for this event. CivilNet.am filmed the whole performance and interviewed our curator Anna K. Gargarian, along with the choreographer, Hasmik Tangyan, and the head of ICA Yerevan Nazareth Karoyan.

Our core support network – volunteers, friends, family

As we set up the exhibition and organized the events, we relied heavily on an extended network of dedicated volunteers… and our loved ones who gently got drafted for HAYP.

The amazing Liana Dashyan and Lusine Vardanyan translated our exhibition materials (wall text, wall labels, press release and social media) from English to Armenian. Anna Hakobyan, Mary Hakobyan and Nairi Khatchadourian also helped with occasional translation issues- thanks!

Our friend Lilit Markosian (one of the first HAYP artists, from the exhibtion “Frame of Mind”) created beautiful graphics for our event PR.

For photography, a warm thank you to our dear friend Karine Vann for her work on opening night. Also thanks to volunteer students Helena Grigoryan, Isaac Bulanikian, Alexandra Bejanyan, and Gugo Tadevosyan from Chantal Terzian’s art class for their assistance.

My sister Sévane Poulain filmed all of our events with her camera, and prepared a video montage of the whole exhibition. Also for filming, thank you to Areg Kozmoyan, Lucine Bekaryan and Peter Liakhov for recording Aram Atamian’s performance.

Several other friends like Garni & Arbi helped out in many ways, big or small. Carrying artworks, chairs, tables, lending electric teapots, buying us coffee, putting up the HAYP signs along the road to Yerevan Residence. For all this, thank you janiks!

Last but not least, we’d like to extend a warm-felt “thank you” to our network of fans: those who never miss an exhibition, who invite their own friends and family to join, share our projects on social media and give us great feedback.

We are also very happy that so many of you noticed the latest art addition to our gallery. It’s a contemporary art installation highlighting the neo-liberal and ecological tragedy of our times: oceans being emptied of their magical creatures (water dragons, vishaps and other goldfish) to be filled, instead, with money. Seriously, thanks for giving some love to our new homemade donation fishbowl – we greatly appreciate!

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Our donation fishbowl (it was full at one point!) | Credits: HAYP

Sad to say goodbye to this exhibition? You don’t have to! We’ll pop up again soon, and in the meantime, you can get a limited edition print of Luska’s mural, signed by the artist, to bring augmented reality to your home! Available in medium/large size at respectively USD 50 and USD 150. Contact us at info.hayp@gmail.com!

Anna K. Gargarian, our curator, holding a print of Luska's work. This photo was taken with the ARLOOPA app! Photo credits: HAYP

Anna K. Gargarian, our curator, holding a print of Luska’s work. This photo was taken with the ARLOOPA app! Photo credits: HAYP

Charlotte Poulain & Anna K. Gargarian