Archive for the ‘Past Exhibitions’ Category

Louis V E.S.P. is now E.S.P. TV

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Dear Friends of Louis V E.S.P.,

Thank you all for a great two and a half years at the 140 Jackson St. space but we are saying so long and moving onto new things at a new space with a new (sort of) name, and change in focus…

Louis V E.S.P. has now ceded to E.S.P. TV, the namesake of our self-produced live taping and broadcast event. E.S.P. TV is a project dedicated to promoting the performing and media based arts through direct collaboration with artists via live television production.

E.S.P. TV’s new HQ is located at 97 Green St. in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Please direct your attention to the E.S.P. TV site for future information on events, episodes of the E.S.P. TV show, development of the TUBE archive and more.

Ania Diakoff: Fukushima Mon Amour

Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Nov 11-27
Opening Reception: Nov 11, 7:30 – 9:30

When the nuclear reactors exploded at Fukushima on March 12, 2011 the world went into apocalyptic shock. A program system failure that would devour a generation and forever change a civilization.

The truth is, the nuclear plant explosions should have come as no surprise – a fated consequence of industrial design, technological advancement, and natural disaster. In Kurosawa’s 1990 film Dreams, he depicts a haunting foreshadowing of Fukushima through the sequence Mt. Fuji in Red. A power plant near Mount Fuji has begun to melt down sending plumes of color-coded smoke into the sky. Crowds of people run manically through the streets and into the ocean knowing that the radiation from the toxic clouds will eventually kill them.

It is Death by Design. Pre-programmed cell suicide. Every cell responds to a signal. When the signal is death, the cell boils then shrinks into a condensed mass to be swallowed by a neighboring cell. The process is neat so the organism can survive continuous cell death without injury or trauma. The Game of Life in action.

History looms heavy for Japan. The water is poisoned and the land is barren. The illusion has shattered. These formations bring movement and paralysis but never death. Cells change but can never disappear.

On the wall, images drift between the moment of explosion and collapse. When the cell knows its fate, and flowers to the surface of the skin. Pastel hues of ink fade into cotton candy dreamscapes. Fabric is worn and bundled. A kimono is strapped to the floor. It is the wake of a failed technological era. A de-evolution of cultural innovations. But the process remains. And each infinitesimal entropic mishap carries us through from heartache into bliss.

Text by Katerina Llanes

Ania Diakoff is an artist and designer living and working in Los Angeles. Her work takes an open approach to art and design practice, often crossing and collapsing contexts and mediums. She has degrees from the School of Visual Arts in New York and CalArts in Los Angeles.


Organs In The Snow

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

A Group Show

and Story by Rachel Mason

Sept 30 – Oct 24 , open by appointment, email

Opening Reception: Sept 30, 8 – 11 pm
Dan Asher / John Baldessari / Michael G. Bauer / Michael Bilsborough / Nancy deHoll / Jen Denike / Tim Dowse / Ellie Ga / Laleh Khorramian / Jason Lazarus / Mamiko Otsubo / Samuel White

Opening Night Performances:
Thank You Rosekind, Doom Trumpet, No Sky God, Mark Golamco

With special episode of E.S.P. TV featuring videos as seen in the show. Airing on MNN Manhattan Cable Access TV, date tba.

(Photograph by Jason Lazarus)

Part I

She was a lion sitting on her dad’s shoulders. They formed a totem of two heads, one large, one small as they walked down the street. Powerful with her lion-painted face, she stuck her tongue out at a man passing by. He tripped on the side of his foot and then fell to the ground.

The girl’s father didn’t realize that his daughter scared the man, causing him to fall. The man already had a fear of children. The girl’s father also didn’t realize that had he reached his hand out to help, the man wouldn’t now have two permanent rods conjoined in his hip bone, and wouldn’t have lapsed into a permanent hallucinatory state from which he’d never recover.

Organs in the snow.

Were they his or did they belong to someone else? Maybe they were donated with good intentions by a victim of a motorcycle accident but were then discovered to be diseased, so they were thrown out.

Organs aren’t supposed to be discarded like this. They’re supposed to be contained in red biohazard boxes. How unceremonious. Why is this fragment of a person lying here, just wasting in the snow?

Full story here:

The End of Failure

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Curated by Katrina Lamb

April 29 – May 13

Opening Reception: April 29, 7:30-10 PM

Chris Sollars

Ross Moreno

Michelle O’ Brien

Christian Oitinnen and Kellie McCool

Shalo P

Anna Pratt

Jeff Ray

Chris Sollars

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Ryan Wilsie

Anne Yalon

Micahel Zheng

from A SHORT PLAY ON FAILURE by Harry Aclund, 1999.

Andrew Mackenzie-Oh timelord, we have heard your cries from the future. We are the oracles you called. You have succeeded in distorting time.

Andrea Garner-Yes, Lord knows how blind you have been: all here are from the past, like it or not.

Timelord- Then you are not real.

Chorus (sing)- A Ha. Are we real. Real or false. Are we real. Real or false.

Timelord- By Davros what are these voices — my failure is confirmed, Am I real or false? My success is a fraud, it is not possible at all. My failure is my inevitable tragedy.

Chorus (Sing)- But we are here, we are real, you are false.

Nickie Smith- Yes we are here for you, we have come for you, to rid time of you. We come in the image of friends, but Davros sent us to destroy you; your success is your downfall; your success is to be our end. you could say your failure.

(she strangles him)

Timelord- My success? my success is my downfall. I have run out of time….


Narrator- And so we witness the madness, and the death of our hero – a self-proclaimed failure, who’s success was his downfall, although he (tragically) only knew this on his death. He was surely a sacrifice for the stability of time itself at the command of the mighty Davros, but we are running out of time too, and our moral tale must close upon this sadness.

Chorus (sing)- Our tale must end, our tale must end,

this sadness is so overwhelming,

the Lord of time is dead, the lord of time is dead,

this sadness is so overwhelming,

or will he fight the mighty Davros on another day,

in another time.


Matilda Bernstein Sycamore

Jeff Ray

Ryan Wilsie

Anne Yalon

Christian Oittenen

Kellie McCool

Kellie McCool

Ross Moreno

Dana Bell: A Delicate Balance

Monday, February 21st, 2011

March 4, 2011 – EXTENDED THROUGH March 24 2011

Open by Appointment, please email

CLOSING RECEPTION: March 24, 7-9 PM w/ performance by the artist with Brian Chase, Meg Clixby, Leah Retherford and Kerry Davis

Pulling together multiple concepts behind Dana Bell’s work in A Delicate Balance, March 24th’s closing performance will include African inspired drumming by Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase (in homage to the colors in Bell’s paintings drawn from African fabrics and crafts) on a backdrop of minimalistic micro-tones.  Meg Clixby, Kerry Davis and Leah Retherford perform reworked hand gestures from Bell’s paintings of hysterical women as inspired by Hollywood films.

"Trying to Push Time Out of Your Mind (from The Snake Pit)", 2011, acrylic and flashe paint on aluminum, 9 x 13 in.

An agitation of hands. Cries and whispers. An inner monologue manically externalized. Fending, grasping,  beckoning for something—anything—a solution… or an escape route…

This is the embodied language of ‘the hysterical woman;’ the dangerously reductive diagnosis not so long ago given to women who exhibited signs of significant psychological distress. Historically, the fluctuation of women’s emotion and temperament has been highly pathologized. Like the Cassandra of myth, women’s troubles and anxieties were dismissed as rumblings of a weak or defective mind.  Biology was destiny, it was only a matter of time before a fragile psyche was interrupted by the real world, and a woman descended into full-on psychosis. The hysterical diagnosis, rooted in antiquity, transformed into a pervasive archetype, with far-reaching consequences. The narrative of ‘the hysterical woman’ reached it peak in the the Victorian Age, when the prevalence of the “disorder” and its corresponding “treatment”—from incitement of “hysterical paroxysm” (i.e. placating pelvic massage) to institutionalization and ultimately to such extremes as lobotomy—was used as a means of socio-cultural domination and control.

Though this diagnosis has declined sharply in the last century, and its assumptions have been demystified, the archetype still lingers in the public consciousness…and in the corresponding cultural production. The archetype, long referenced in the history of Western Art, has frequently been the subject of film. American Cinema is rife with depictions of women on the verge of some sort of nervous breakdown. In A Delicate Balance, Dana Bell’s inaugural show at Louis V E.S.P.,  she examines some of these depictions in classic Hollywood films.

Bell critically interprets a broad section of hysterical collapse, as dramatized by a who’s who of great actresses. There’s descent into madness, and subsequent forced clinical institutionalization: Jessica Lange, as tragically wronged actress Frances Farmer, in Frances (1982); Gena Rowlands in husband John Cassavetes’s A Woman Under The Influence (1974); Joan Crawford in The Caretakers, (1963); Olivia de Havilland in The Snake Pit (1948). There are accounts of unaddressed psychological trauma wreaking dissociative havoc internally, via multiple personality disorder: Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve (1967) and Sally Field in Sybil (1976).  And trauma leading towards an external acting out, (cruel abuse of others: Faye Dunway, as Joan Crawford, in Mommie Dearest (1981). And of course there’s the requisite general mania due to family dysfunction, drugs, and overwhelming pain: Katharine Hepburn in Sidney Lumet’s version of Eugene O’Neill’s  Long Days Journey Into Night (1962), and Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).

Dana Bell paints films stills as a means of distilling (psychological) motivation, placing sharp focus on the physical realization of intent, and how gesture transforms from dramatic idiosyncrasy to a vernacular body language, or a clichéd response. In (A) Delicate Balance,  she has created a reductionist study of women who, through a perceived loss of sanity, have lost recognition as an individuated self. The “hysterical woman” is  essentialized. Bell portrays the women as they are perceived– faceless, reduced to gesture erased of nuance, of subjectivity. The works (totalling over 50 panels) wrap around the gallery in a single line reiterating their filmic origins and passages between emotional states.

Dana Bell was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1974 and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She studied with Vito Acconci and Joanne Greenbaum at the Maine College of Art while working towards her MFA. Bell has shown her work in Prague, Bratislava, New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles at institutions including The Pacific Design Center, Paris London West Nile, D’amelio Terras, The Chelsea Art Museum, The Parrish Art Museum, and Dvorak Sec Gallery.

"Just a Minute (from A Streetcar Named Desire)", 2011, acrylic and flashe paint on aluminum, 9 x 13 in.

"Something I can Hardly Remember (from The Snake Pit), 2011, acrylic and flashe paint on aluminum, 9 x 13 in.

Performance w/ Meg Clixby, Leah Retherford, Kerry Davis and Brian Chase

Photo by Jane Koh

Photo by Jane Koh


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Episode 1 Air Date: April 27, 9:30 PM, Channel 57 Time Warner, 83 RCN

EPISODE 1 of a new cable access show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network.

Featuring live performances and video by:

Dana Bell

Colby Bird

Elbis Rever


Kate Gilmore


Katrina Lamb

Derek Larson

Erica Magrey

Rachel Mason

Sam Mickens

Bradford Nordeen

Andre Perkowski

Jonathan Phelps

Sophia Peer

Andrew Steinmetz

Jennifer Sullivan

Brian Zegeer

Kunsole, 2011

Erica Magrey


Elbis Rever

Ganjatronics (Doron Sadja / Justin Craun)

Kate Gilmore

"The Dust Up" with Sam Mickens

Rachel Mason / Little Band of Sailors

Elbis Rever (photo by Nick Normal)

Third Meaning Commercial, By Dana Bell (photo by Nick Normal)

Deric Carner: Range Rover

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

December 10-17

Opening Reception: December 10, 7-11PM

Louis V ESP is pleased to present “Range Rover” an exhibition of new posters by Deric Carner. Using cut-and-paste collage, digital manipulation and commercial printing, Carner creates large posters which inter-cut images of feral children, Kate Bush, urban revolt and privileged consumerism. As these narratives overlap and contradict, Carner confounds the given narratives of these charged visual icons, engineering a space of friction and fantasy. Carner prints these posters in open editions accompanied by a work-in-progress catalog.

Renata Espinosa will perform “Eat the Music” at 8:30 pm

Deric Carner an artist and publication designer interested in a spectral forms and speculative narratives. Carner has exhibited at Romer Young Gallery (2008, 2010), Centre Pompidou (2010), Artists Space (2009), Geisai Miami (2008), Witte de With Rotterdam (2006), CAC Vilnius (2005), and Kunstverein Malkasten Duesseldorf (2005). His work has been featured in publications by Revolver Books (Frankfurt, 2005-2006); ZYZZYVA (SF, Fall 2008); SUM Magazine (Copenhagen, Spring 2008); and is included in the KIOSK archive at the Kunstbibliothek Berlin (2009).

Catalog essay by Bradford Nordeen

Jonathon Keats: “Pornography for God… and Pornography for Plants”

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

November 12 – 23

Opening Reception: November 12, 7-11 PM

All-New Production By Critically Acclaimed Houseplant Pornographer Jonathon Keats Premieres on November 12th… Louis V E.S.P. Lands Exclusive 2-Week Engagement… Filmmaker to Attend Opening Night Gala…

Nearly fourteen billion years after the Big Bang, next month an American pornographer will screen intimate scenes from the conception of the cosmos in order to stimulate God to conceive new universes. Establishing a direct link from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland to an alternative arts space in Brooklyn, Jonathon Keats will attempt to arouse God with high-energy particle interactions not seen since the universe burst into existence.

“To a deity, the Big Bang is very sexy,” explains Mr. Keats. “The Big Bang is divine coitus. And with the LHC, we can now simulate it at least as accurately as a porn star can fake an orgasm.”

Renowned for making porn for houseplants by filming honeybees, Mr. Keats was inspired to become God’s pornographer after noting the Creator’s eons of celibacy. “I felt sorry for God,” he confesses. “Monotheism must be lonely.”

Yet it was only after he read about the capabilities of the Large Hadron Collider – popularly known as the Big Bang machine – and found out that the new $6 billion apparatus was merely being used for physics, that he figured out a way to bring God some joy. “The LHC has recently begun smashing together protons at energy levels as high as seven trillion electron volts,” he says. “We now have the technology to titillate God with quarks and gluons, and maybe even the Higgs boson.”

Situated in the not-for-profit gallery Louis V E.S.P., Mr. Keats’ porn theater will present a live feed of graphic data from the LHC for an exclusive two-week run beginning on November 12th.  For optimal viewing, the pornographer and artist has developed a special screen. “We’re showing the porn on a votive alter,” says Mr. Keats. “In terms of communicating with God, that’s a technology that dates back millennia, and has never been surpassed by the Vatican or anyone else.” With the addition of incense and candles, “it becomes sort of a divine porn palace,” adds Louis V E.S.P. co-director Scott Kiernan.

Louis V E.S.P. will also host Mr. Keats’ pornography for plants, featuring explicit acts of pollination, which will be projected onto the foliage of local flora brought in from the Williamsburg neighborhood where the arts space is located. Both screening areas will also be open to humans during select hours, though Mr. Keats has requested that people respect the privacy of the primary audiences, especially God.

“Some New Yorkers may consider God-porn to be frivolous entertainment,” says Mr. Keats, “but I believe that this erotica may have cosmic importance. Our world is coming apart, both locally and at the universal scale, where dark energy is accelerating the expansion of space. Now may be our final chance to excite God to procreate again, conceiving new universes with alternate ends.”

Acclaimed as “a poet of ideas” by the New Yorker, Jonathon Keats is an experimental philosopher and artist based in the United States and Italy. Recently he  screened pornography for plants at the Armand Hammer Museum. He has also choreographed ballet for honeybees at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, exhibited extraterrestrial art at the Judah Magnes Museum, and attempted to genetically engineer God in collaboration with scientists at the University of California.  His projects have been documented by PBS, NPR, and the BBC World Service, garnering favorable attention in periodicals ranging from The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle, to Nature and New Scientist, to Flash Art and ArtUS. Additionally, Keats serves as the art critic for San Francisco Magazine and as a columnist for Wired Magazine. He’s the author of two novels and an American Library Association award-winning collection of stories published by Random House, as well as a book about the co-evolution of language and science, “Virtual Words”,  published by Oxford University Press this month. Since graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1994, he has been a visiting artist at California and Montana State Universities, and a guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as the recipient of Yaddo and MacDowell fellowships. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco. He can be contacted at

Reuters article about “Pornography for Plants”

New Yorker article about Jonathon Keats