Great Pretenders: An Exhibit of Art Fakery

Mark Beard, Kahn & Selesnick, Scott Serrano, Mark Catalina, and Paul Chojnowski

In the Backroom: paintings by Carolou Kristofik

September 3, 2009 through October 11, 2009

Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to announce a new show titled “Great Pretenders: An Exhibit of Art Fakery”, featuring the work of Mark Beard, Scott Serrano, Paul Chojnowski, Kahn and Selesnick and Mark Catalina. (with Carolou Kristofik exhibiting beautifully composed still life paintings in primary colors in the back room). The show opens September 3 and runs through October 11, 2009.

Haddad has had some fun curating this group show featuring several artists she has been representing for many years and one newcomer who all share a common theme in their work; fakery. Of course, the artists are not faking as far as their talent or execution of their artwork goes. Their fakery involves painting under the assumed names of invented characters, creating historic and futuristic photographs of events that never took place, and drawing invented objects that have never existed. Additional trickery is created by artists who disguise their paintings as photographic negatives and prints.

Mark Beard, an artist who paints as various personae, has been exhibiting for many years at Carrie Haddad Gallery. As “Bruce Sargeant”, an imagined English artist living in the early 1900’s, he paints scenes of young men sporting in the English countryside, falconing, canoeing, wrestling, posing casually and handsomely in the landscape. They are privileged and serene figures of another time.

Beard also created Bruce Sargeant’s teacher, Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon, a 19th-century French Academist. Michallon and Sargeant’s work will make up the bulk of this exhibit, but readers can check the gallery website to learn about the other personae Mark Beard inhabits.

The artist Scott Serrano will create an installation of a fabricated 19th century exhibit hall inside the Carrie Haddad Gallery. Serrano also assumes the character of a 19th Century botanist who traveled the tropical, and invented continent of Wallaceana and now presents in images, text and artifacts, his discoveries. The artist writes, “The exhibition is sponsored by a fictitious science institution (created by me) with detailed science-historical museum placards near each image and artifact. These placards will contain a textual narrative telling the story of this fictitious 19th c. Natural History expedition. I will place myself as a character in the narrative of exploration, documenting this continent through many types of media: drawings, faked daguerreotypes, travel journals, artifacts and specimens.” The work has an undercurrent of irony. One piece has a tongue-in-cheek political reference to Bush and Cheney, and another one is a tribute to Ralph Albert Blakelock. Serrano lives near Stone Ridge with his artist/wife

Allyson Levy and their children.

The “art pranksters” Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick have been collaborating for years as writers, photographers and sculptors creating fabled narratives that straddle the real and the fake. Their staged photographs of imaginary quasi-historical expeditions using costumed people and home-made props in real locations combine an amusing loopiness with a seriousness of purpose. Kahn and Selesnick exhibit worldwide and have been included in countless museum and private collections. They have been exhibiting with Carrie Haddad Gallery since 1993.

Another magical (sleight-of-hand) art process is Paul Chojnowski. At first glance, any viewer would think they were looking at sepia-toned photographic prints or conte crayon drawings. Chojnowski actually paints with water and then burns in the image with a blowtorch. These beautiful “burned drawings” of scenes at dusk are magical and moody. An image of the majestic Chrysler Building is referred to as “My Rouen”, as an homage to Monet who painted Rouen Cathedral many times from different angles in varying light.

Artist Mark Catalina uses state-of-the-art computer graphics technology to make working sketches from which he creates large-scale paintings on canvas, typically of women. Influenced by the work of psychologist Carl Jung, these paintings represent a vision of “the Anima”. The artist says, “To me, there is a part of all women that is smoky, ethereal, unknowable.” His large paintings trick us by looking just like huge photographic negatives.
Carolou Kristofik is a meticulous painter. Her flawless execution combined with sumptuous texture and composition makes common everyday objects seem monumental and mysterious. Kristofik studied at the Art Students League and The Brooklyn Museum Art School and has travelled widely in Europe and Africa.

The vividly imagined work of these great pretenders will entertain and delight. The exhibit runs from September 3- October 11. Carrie Haddad Gallery is located at 622 Warren Street in Hudson, NY. All are invited to attend an opening reception for the artists on Saturday, September 5, from 6 – 8 PM.

Gallery hours are 11-5, Thursday through Tuesday. Please call 518 828 1915 for directions or information. Visit our website at .

Kahn & Selesnick

Carolou Kristofik

Mark Beard

Paul Chojnowski

Scott Serrano

Thomas Locker