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Monday, December 2, 2013

Introducing the BAM + NADA Portfolio

by Jessica Goldschmidt

In 1987, BAM began commissioning artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Barbara Kruger to create limited-edition benefit prints. Now, we’re creating a benefit portfolio for the 21st century in collaboration with NADA—New Art Dealers Alliance—which is most definitely not nothing. It’s something. It’s a big deal, actually.

NADA was founded in 2002 as an alternative, nonprofit collective of contemporary art professionals. Together, BAMart—the visual art component of our organization—and NADA commissioned 12 of today’s most exciting visual artists to create a limited-edition print portfolio to benefit both organizations.

The portfolio itself is a work of art, housing prints in a variety of media in a beautiful archival linen folder. Check out the website to learn more about the project and the artists (in alphabetical order): Joshua Abelow, Sascha Braunig, Sarah Crowner, Alex Da Corte, Michael DeLucia, Christian Holstad, Zak Kitnick, Margaret Lee, Sam Moyer, Ulrike Müller, Zak Prekop, and Michael Williams.

To offer a glimpse into the process of these up-and-coming artists, we asked two of the portfolio’s participants (Zak Prekop and Sascha Braunig) to introduce themselves and their work to the BAM community. They graciously complied:

1. Where were you born, where do you live, and where do you work?

Zak Prekop:  I was born in Chicago and now I live and work in Brooklyn.

Sascha Braunig: British Columbia, Canada, and I currently live and work in Portland, Maine.

2. How would you describe your practice to someone who might have never seen your work before?

Zak: I usually just say I make paintings and hope that they see them sometime. I could add that many of them have paint and/or paper on both sides of transparent canvas, where shapes and marks interact with patterns and structures.

Sascha: My paintings combine observed detail from sculptural models with invented environments and flat patterns.

3. What are your creative fascinations right now?

Sascha: Generally, my work is about the psychology and aesthetics of surface, how people surface themselves to face each other. Increasingly, it’s also about how figures can act/interact on a surface within the boundaries of a painting.  

Zak: I did a country residency this summer in Bovina, NY, and found looking at birds or walking in the woods to be a pretty good substitute for going to museums and galleries, I recently heard Charles Cutis, a cellist, perform works by Eliane Radigue and Morton Feldman at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn. That was amazing.

4. Tell me a bit about the piece you created for the NADA Portfolio: materials you used, inspirations you drew from…

Zak: It’s an embossment taken from an image of one of my paintings. I have made works with paper collaged to the back of the canvas and nothing else. The paper shrinks onto the canvas forming a subtle embossment on the face, so this print is another way to achieve that feeling with a more complex image than what I could cut out of paper. I've always liked those Anni Albers embossment prints too. 

Sascha: Lately I’ve been inspired by thinking about female characters in Jane Austen, the Brontës, and Daphne du Maurier, specifically the haunting, sexually dangerous ex-wives in Jane Eyre and Rebecca. Cinematic lighting and color have been very important in forming my aesthetic interests, specifically from films like Fassbinder’s Querelle and Lola, much of Cronenberg, Hitchcock, Powell and Pressberger, and Kenneth Anger, and a host of B and horror films. Often, either spontaneously or in a text I’m reading, I find a title for a painting first and work backwards from the words to an image.

5. Any upcoming projects/shows/ideas you’re excited about?

Zak: I'm working on some paintings that are more complex and time consuming than a lot of my previous work, so I'm planning on many hours in the studio. 

Sascha: I’m interested in the somewhat antiquated idea of being a muse, or having a muse. Though my muses are mostly inanimate, I suppose I’m inspired by the stories of deranged artist/muse relationships such as Hans Bellmer with Unica Zurn, Oskar Kokoschka with Alma Mahler, Picasso with... everybody.

The BAM + NADA Portfolio is on display December 5—8 at NADA Miami Beach, the art fair alternative to Art Basel Miami Beach. If you can’t make it to the Sunshine State, be sure to peruse the collection online at

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