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Posts Tagged ‘Philomena Marano’

Clock & Chute, Philomena Marano

Clock & Chute, Limited Edition Print by Philomena Marano on W 12th Street, Coney Island. June 9, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On a recent Saturday, ATZ happened to see “Clock & Jump” by Philomena Marano, walking down 12th Street in Coney Island. We caught up with the artwork in front of a souvenir stand. It’s a limited edition print— one of 200 — made from the original papier collé, which is Philomena’s forte. The Clock in the print is the Coca Cola clock on a billboard that was a Boardwalk fixture in the 1950s and ’60s. The Jump is of course the landmark Parachute Jump, the sole survivor of Steeplechase Park.

“Coney Island has needed a clock since the hands fell off the Coca Cola clock some time ago. I guess in the late 70′s,” said Philomena in a comment on one of our previous posts about her work (“Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano,” ATZ, September 19, 2010). The face of the clock and the billboard are also long gone. “Philip and I are thinking about how to propose the clock project, seriously.”

In 2004, the artist teamed up with architect Philip Tusa to propose “A Pavilion with a Magic Clock” for the Van Alen Institute’s Parachute Pavilion design competition for Coney Island. There were 864 entries and cash awards of $18,000, but none of the entries won the commission to design the pavilion at Steeplechase Plaza.

Marano and Tusa gave their concept another go in 2008, when the Municipal Art Society asked the public to “Imagine Coney.” The section of their proposal titled “Reestablish Massive Clock” envisioned a clock that pays homage to Steeplechase with “a little Tilyou man at center, whose arms act as the arms of the clock and then will spin frantically every hour on the hour, perhaps accompanied by some whirring or whizzing sound.”

Philomena’s Magic Clock presented at BAM, November 17, 2008. Municipal Art Society Imagine Coney Island Idea #131 by Philip Tusa, Architect & Philomena Marano, Artist. Photo © Philip Tusa via flickr

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June 21,2012: Photo Album: Mermaid Avenue Murals and Public Art

June 8, 2012: Art of the Day: Steve Powers New Signs for Coney Island

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

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Philomena Marano with cut paper installation Giant Lolly

Philomena Marano with cut paper installation Giant Lolly, Homage to Philip's Candy. Photo © Tricia Vita

Earlier this month, we visited the Gowanus studio shared by Coney Island Hysterical Society co-founders Philomena Marano and Richard Eagan. In this two-part post, ATZ’s photos are interspersed with the artists’ own words about their Coney-inspired artwork.

Lately I’ve been considering one of the strains that run through both of our works- something I coined as a “Fool the Guesser” concept- Loosely defined: things seem like one thing, but may be another -perhaps bordering on “optical illusion” but not in the strictest sense- more like a form of visual play.

Eagan has a series of painted target constructions which take on a kinetic quality as one changes their point of view, and I have work in which it is really tough to decipher the medium it was created in- printed, paper or painted… thus summoning a sense of wonderment or an invitation to a guessing game.

We’re planning to group these selected works and hope to find a venue for an exhibition.

My new PLAY FASCINATION piece actually revisits an earlier set of works with the same name, but it’s more “unhinged.” In this piece I used a perception shifting ploy. What seems to be flat is actually sculptural. Is it caving in or blowing out? – there is no “one way” to view it.

To create it I made a cut paper composition which I then cut up into pieces. Next I reassembled them so that the pieces sit on different levels, some tilted inward, some outward and some level, thus adding dimension and delirium.

I originally borrowed the type face I use in my PLAY FASCINATION works from a decaying metal sign that hung on the side of the Faber’s Fascination building on Surf Avenue. In 1990 I recomposed the elements and created 5 similar works with the same title; one in cut paper and four hard edged paintings. I recall viewers engaged in examining the work as it hung side by side in an exhibit, wondering or “guessing,” is this paper, painted or printed?

This “fun house” or” magic show of illusion” concept appeals to me because it parallels my subject matter. I think it’s time to explore & embrace this unique Coney Island essence a bit further- to pay tribute to it.

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Related posts on ATZ...

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Richard Eagan of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 1, 2010: Oct 2: Coney Island Hysterical Art on Gowanus Artists Studio Tour

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

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Logo from Coney Island Hysterical Society Newsletter, 1987

Logo from Coney Island Hysterical Society Newsletter, 1987. Image © Richard Eagan & Philomena Marano.

In 1981, Brooklyn artists Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano co-founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society because they were “Hysterical” at the rate that the amusement rides and attractions were shutting down. ATZ found the whimsical sketch pictured above in one of the CIHS newsletters which Richard sent us this summer. The Society’s very first newsletter, in 1983, explained the design’s origin: “Oh Boy! Oh Joy! Where do we go from here? The Coney Island Hysterical slogan (or ‘motto’) accompanies the dancing figures on our letterhead, and will appear in the 1983 Coney Island Mural. We chose this logo for its optimistic statement and varied assortment of characters united in celebration.”

Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano, 25 Shoot, 39 x 52 x 8, Mixed media, 2009

Richard Eagan and Philomena Marano, 25 Shoot, 39 x 52 x 8, Mixed media, constructed collage, silkscreen print, enamel on wood. 2009

Nearly three decades later, Eagan and Marano continue to create Coney-themed art in the studio that they share in Gowanus. This invite arrived today:

To All our Coney Island Fans, “Savers”, friends and beyond

On as short a notice as possible, please accept our invitation to tomorrow’s open studio event as part of this year’s Gowanus Artists’ Open Studio Tour. As most of you know, Philomena Marano and I are the core of the Coney Island Hysterical Society (still crazy after all these years); we have been sharing a studio and exploring collaborations based on Coney Island themes. We are also planning a joint exhibition of Coney works, and are seeking a venue to that end. We’d love to see you tomorrow some time between noon and six!

Best wishes on a rainy day,

Richard Eagan
Philomena Marano

Annual Gowanus Artists Studio Tour (AGAST), Richard Eagan & Philomena Marano Open Studio, Saturday, October 2, 12 – 6pm. 267 Douglass Street, 3rd Floor, between Nevins St. and Third Avenue, Brooklyn. Subway: R Train to Union Street, one block to Third Avenue, three blocks to Douglass Street

Related posts on ATZ...

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 31, 2009: Traveler: Carnival Rides as Public Art at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

June 13, 2009: June 13: Coney Island Hysterical Society Artists in Conversation at A.M. Richard Fine Art in Williamsburg

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Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

PLAY FASCINATION by Philomena Marano. Cut paper collage, 1990s

In 2007, artist Philomena Marano’s signature art piece, “The World’s Largest Paper Lollypop,” paid tribute to Coney Island’s much-missed Philip’s Candy, which moved to Staten Island when Stillwell Terminal was rebuilt. Her latest tribute to a vanished Coney icon is this cut paper piece done in the early 90s and dedicated to Faber’s Fascination.

When Marano recently learned that Faber’s sign had gone dark, she posted the image on Facebook along with a note: “Do you remember the ‘FABERS FASCINATION’ sign made up of a million light bulbs? Visible as you got off the train station on Surf Ave- well, the sign was taken down recently. Tears.”

The piece is from Marano’s Coney Island series “American Dreamland,” which spans over 20 years (1979-present). “I think Faber’s Fascination, all lit up, was symbolic in the fact that it was the introduction to ‘Fascination’ in general…. as you left the train station & stepped into the Coney Island world,” says Marano.

In 1981, the Brooklyn native co-founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society with fellow artist Richard Eagan because they were “Hysterical” at the rate that the amusement rides and attractions were shutting down. Her work is currently on view in “Urbanessence,” a group exhibition at New York Institute of Technology’s Gallery 61 through October 7th. One of the pieces, “Vision for the Parachute Jump Pavilion,” is a composite of design ideas in collaboration with architect Philip Tusa for the Van Alen Institute competition in 2005.

Related posts on ATZ…

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

June 13, 2009: June 13: Coney Island Hysterical Society Artists in Conversation at A.M. Richard Fine Art in Williamsburg

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Swingin', Stationary by Philomena Marano

Coney Island's Wonder Wheel: Swingin', Stationary by Philomena Marano

Swingin’, Stationary by Philomena Marano. Cut paper collage. From the exhibition “New York Then and Now” at ACA Galleries through October 10. Extended through October 27, 2009

Last week ACA Galleries hosted a Meet the Artists reception for their current group exhibition celebrating “New York Then and Now.” Coney Island’s legendary attractions provided the inspiration for several works, including painting, sculpture and collage. Artist Philomena Marano, who is known for her bold and colorful cut paper collages of Coney’s amusement rides and signs, talked about her favorite subject matter:

The “Wonder Wheel” ferris wheel is continuously inspiring to me because it has two worlds — the one above, riding the sky and the one below, bathed in rhythmic patterns of light & shadow. Both are at once industrial and enchanted.

In “Swingin’, Stationary,” I hope to evoke not only the visual complexities of linear tension but also the sounds of gears turning, motors humming, and the sonorous chords of cars swinging. All magic. If you’re going to ride it, I suggest the swingin’ car!

The group exhibit “New York Then and Now,” which includes the work of George Ault, Romare Bearden, William Gropper, Reginald Marsh, Faith Ringgold and Herb Rogoff, among others, continues through October 10 27. 2009 ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th St., 5th floor, New York, 212-206-8080.

ATZ enjoys the roller coaster-like thrill of the swinging cars, too. There’s still time to go for a spin on the Wonder Wheel this season– Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park is open weekends and school holidays through Monday, October 12. Weather permitting of course. Call ahead for hours of operation. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, 3059 W 12th St, Coney Island, 718- 372-2592.


Related posts on ATZ...

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 31, 2009: Traveler: Carnival Rides as Public Art at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche

June 13, 2009: June 13: Coney Island Hysterical Society Artists in Conversation at A.M. Richard Fine Art in Williamsburg

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Shoot 25 by Philomena Marano and Richard Eagan. Mixed media, constructed collage, silkscreen print, enamel on wood. From the exhibition “All Roads Lead to Coney Island” at A.M Richard Fine Art through July 12.

No, we don’t mean Historical Society. Brooklyn native Philomena Marano explains that in 1981, she and fellow artist Richard Eagan founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society because they were “Hysterical” at the rate that the amusement rides and attractions were shutting down. Joined by like-minded artists the group took on such projects as the restoration of an old dark ride and an homage to souvenir cut out photo boards.

Today at 4 p.m, Marano and Eagan get together for a conversation with artist and CIHS alum Marc Kehoe. They first met Kehoe in 1985 when he joined the group and painted a small mural on the side of the Spook House. This special event takes place at the Williamsburg gallery where their work is part of a Coney-centric group exhibition on view through July 12.

“All Roads Lead to Coney” is curated by Andrew Garn and also includes works by Robert and Robbie Bailey, Todd Boebel, Matilde Damele, François Deschamps, Emily Feinstein, Hazel Hankin, Robert Hickman, Hawley Hussey, Bill Jacobson, Salem Krieger, Laure Leber, Andrew Lichtenstein, Doni Lucas, Ingrid Ludt, Ann Murphy, Bethany Obrecht, Brooke Prickett, James Reeder, Arthur Robins, Molly Schwartz, and Robert Vizzini.

A.M. Richard Fine Art, 328 Berry Street, 3rd Floor, Williamsburg. Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday, 1 – 6 p.m. 917-570-1476


Related posts on ATZ...

October 1, 2010: Oct 2: Coney Island Hysterical Art on Gowanus Artists Studio Tour

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 12, 2009: Moments in Time: Artist Eric March’s Coney Island

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

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