The initial impetus for the award came after I received an electronic invitation to the opening of Jason Eskenazi’s “Wonderland: A Fairytale of the Soviet Monolith.”  I am familiar with Jason’s work and knew that it wasn’t receiving the attention it deserved so I spontaneously gave him this award and forwarded the email to everyone on my list.

I told Derek Stroup the story of how I made up this award and he laughed.  He was very encouraging and said, “Just keep doing it, the next thing you know people will be sending you their portfolios.”

A month or so later, Jay Nubile happened to send me a You Tube link to a video he and Toby Kaplowitz made for an experimental video workshop.  I tried giving him five stars but the You Tube software had a bug in it and only three stars were given!  This made me mad so I gave Jay what he rightfully deserved -– 6 GOLD STARS ******!

The idea stems partially from my discomfort with traditional media’s methodology for reviewing books, films, art, etc.  I feel these large entities have too much power over what is promoted nationally.  How often does the New York Times review a photography or multimedia book?????  Most of the decisions to review something are coming from editors with an expertise only in writing and editing text.  The visual arts are so dominant in our society yet only a handful of these editors have a strong background in this area.

I’ve always had complex feelings about awards because they foster competition and if someone doesn’t win, the individual often feels sad.  I’m not a person who likes competition or believes people need to be validated by awards, especially in journalism, photography and the arts.  However, awards often promote stuff that might go unnoticed and the psychology behind an award is still very powerful……so the intent is for this to be a friendly, quirky, happy, nice award.

The name of the 6 GOLD STAR AWARD is derived from my early pre-internet days in photography when I used to star my favorite slides so the editors would know which ones to choose.  The best slides were exuberantly given numerous stars.  Despite my not so subtle efforts, these editors have a mind of their own and often choose photographs I don’t want published.  As anyone in field of communications knows these listening skill problems persist to this very day.

And of course….we can’t forget our days in elementary school when we eagerly awaited our gold stars.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Cui Fei Wins Award For Her Art!!!!!!!

I am happy to announce that Cui Fei has received the STEVE LEHMAN 6 GOLD STAR AWARD for her wonderful art.

Cui Fei has developed an accessible and unique style of art. She explores patterns, natural beauty, and our relationship to our surroundings. Using mostly natural materials, she has created art that is both conceptually important and visual pleasing. I feel her work makes an important contribution to a long tradition of art, which uses nature as a motif.

Please visit her solo exhibit at the Cheryl McGinnis Gallery.
1287 Madison Avenue (between 91St and 92nd Streets)
New York, NY 10128
Phone: 212.722.1144

Gallery hours:
Monday: By Appointment
Tuesday: 9:30-4:30
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 9:30-5:30
Saturday: 11:00-5:30

Her work is also on display in a group show entitled “Touched by Women’s Hands” at the Flushing Town Hall. This show is curated by Lin Yan and features Cui Fei, Song Xin, Emily Cheng, Liang Hao, Hilda Shen. All are very talented artists. This show runs until January 20, 2008.

Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, Inc.
137-35 Northern Boulevard
Flushing, New York 11354
Ph. (718) 463-7700
Tuesday- Sunday 12-5 PM

The lovely Cui Fei at the "Touched by Women's Hands Opening" in Flushing, NY.

Cheryl McGinnis Gallery Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Cheryl McGinnis
Phone: 212-722-1144

Cui Fei
Manuscripts of Nature

The Cheryl McGinnis Gallery is honored to exhibit Cui Fei’s Manuscript of Nature solo exhibition December 4, 2007 - February 14, 2008.

The exhibit focuses on Cui Fei’s newest body of work as well as revisiting some earlier work.

The concept of nature has been a consistent theme in Cui Fei’s work. As a Chinese artist active in the United States, witnessing radical social changes in China and experiencing cultural differences in the United States, she says her thinking has been permanently altered. In response to a continually changing outside world she seeks the underlying essence of our lives, something that is real and permanent, which cannot be altered by social, political, cultural, or geographic conditions. Cui Fei sees nature as consistent and ordered, thus providing a therapeutic agent for healing and harmony in an otherwise chaotic world. She utilizes materials found in nature, such as tendrils, leaves and thorns composing a manuscript symbolizing the voiceless messages in nature that are waiting to be discovered and to be heard.

Both the concept of nature in her Chinese heritage, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all beings, and the Western theory of transculture, which stresses living beyond the limitations of any particular culture offer her a unique vision to view the relationships between cultural differences: between culture and nature and between nature and human beings. While the ideas are consistent, the artist explores the expressive possibilities of different media: painting, printmaking, installation, and photography.

Recent Exhibits:

Touched by Women’s Hand, Flushing Council of the Arts – Smithsonian Institution, Flushing, NY

New Britain Museum, CT, Delaware Art Museum, Art

Complex Museum, MA, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum,

Queens Museum of Art, Wave Hill, Bronx Museum of the Arts


ainesse said...

Cui Fei's work is subtle and it is good to see such an artist get the recognition she so obviously deserves. Are you aware of a very interesting Irish artist by the name of Alice Maher - she has used natural materials in her work which has a lovely metaphorical and symbolic dimension.

stevenblehman said...

Dear Ainesse,
Thank you for the post, I like it when someone agrees with me (LOL).

I appreciate you bringing Alice Maher to my attenton. I was not aware of her work.

How are you familiar with Cui Fei's work? and How did you find out about the award?