Art Cake Announces its Grand Opening with Inaugural Exhibition: Suzanne Bocanegra: Wardrobe Test

Suzanne Bocanegra: Wardrobe Test
Suzanne Bocanegra: Wardrobe Test


NEW YORK — Art Cake, an arts organization dedicated to providing space for production and artists opportunities to explore creative practices, launches on September 7, 2019 with an inaugural solo exhibition of recent works by New York-based artist Suzanne Bocanegra.

Located in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood in a converted 1920s industrial building, once the headquarters of Financier Patisserie and a paint manufacturer, Art Cake is an artist-led organization including a range of creative industries. The 13,000 square foot building was renovated by architects Smith&Sauer, in close collaboration with Art Cake founders and artists Cordy Ryman and Ethan Ryman. The space features a flexible multi-room exhibition and event space on the ground floor and a complex of affordable artist studios on the second floor. The ground floor provides an ideal venue for a variety of events, from art exhibitions and installations, to film shoots, lectures, and dinners. Following the inaugural three-month exhibition, the building’s ground floor will be offered at cost for third party events. Art Cake’s visual identity was created by Point of Passing.

Operating on a self-sustaining model, the revenue generated from the multi-functional space on the ground floor will be filtered into the Art Cake Studio program to maintain affordable spaces and grow resources for artists living and working in New York City. “Our vision is to provide studio space and resources for artists to make art in a city where it has become more and more difficult to maintain a creative practice. We intend to provide a platform that will hopefully give birth to some sort of minute portion of a generation of artists.” Ethan Ryman says.

Art Cake Studio Program provides individual work spaces to a global pool of artists working in New York within the disciplinary fine arts. Rotating the artists in residence every one-to-two years, the mission is to build and support a diverse community of artists. The complex on the second floor is comprised of ten studios and a shared communal area. The Studio Program has been curated by a selection of New York-based artists, curators, writers, and professors. Each member of the rotating selection committee provides the names of two to three artists who would benefit from the studio program. Art Cake welcomes artists of all ages, working in all disciplines, and who can commit to using the studios regularly for production.

Suzanne Bocanegra: Wardrobe Test, on view September 7 – November 17, comprises three recent large-scale works by the artist: Valley (2018); Lemonade, Roses, Satchel (2017); and Dialogue of the Carmelites (2018), which have been configured and adapted to three newly renovated spaces. Her work has aspects of video and performance that reveal the potential of Art Cake’s space. Since the late 1980’s, Bocanegra’s work has ranged from painting, video, and installation works to performance, costume, and set design. Throughout her practice, she returns repeatedly to subjects that interest her – romantic ideas about nature, idealistic views of the pastoral, how costumes communicate and reveal character, how art and theater interact, and how art intersects with real life. By accumulating and collaging personal and historical narratives, Bocanegra creates works that can be interpreted literally, metaphorically, and satirically all at once. Much of her work is collaborative; Bocanegra frequently works with actors and musicians, using their physicality, movements, and sounds as vehicles to project the various modes of interpretation. By working with actors, she comments on avoiding the audience’s gaze, reclaiming a power that women often lose. In 2010, Bocanegra began a series of theater works, called “artist lectures.” Her stories become performances, brought to life in collaboration with professional actors. In October, Art Cake will be hosting an artist lecture with actress Lili Taylor.

Suzanne Bocanegra (b. 1957, Houston Texas, lives and works in New York City) received her B.F.A. from The University of Texas, Austin, and her M.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute. Bocanegra’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions, at the Fabric Workshop & Museum, Philadelphia (2018); The Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York (2010); The Drawing Room, East Hampton, New York (2005), among others. Bocanegra has been a recipient of notable awards and fellowships, including a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2013), New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2005; 2001; 1993; and 1989); Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2003; 1990; 1988); and Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (both 2001).

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