Miami Art and Design: Miami Welcomes Sculptor Angel Orensanz


By: Tom Bellachio, 2014.

Miami Art and Design - Angel Orensanz - New York City

Sculptor Angel Orensanz presents his work at the Miami Art and Design art fair in Feburary 2014.

Sculptor Angel Orensanz represents just one of a notable list of contemporary artists who have made Miami a favorite destination for development, production and public formulation the artistic mind.

Orensanz’s work was actively accessible and on display at the current Miami Art Fair (Booth 312), which included a mesmerizing anthology of his sculpture, painting, drawing and photography/video.

Miami Art and Design - Angel Orensanz Foundation - New York City

Miami Art and Design 2014 fair presented the work of artists and galleries from across the international arts community.

His booth is one of the most visited at the Miami Art and Design fair; hundreds of experts, collectors, documentarians and visitors gathered in excitement over Angel Orensanz’s presence in the Southern metropolis.  This year, Orensanz presented bronze pieces, paintings, drawings and photography.  The common trait of his work is a subliminal, transcending magic that inserts into the visitor a universe of disturbing associations.

Miami Art and Design - Angel Orensanz Foundation - New York City

Luis Bunuel – Angel Orensanz develops a new installation art piece in the lands of Spain featured in much of Bunuel’s work.

Angel Orensanz developed a deep and mutually supportive rapport with surrealist and photographeer Luis Bunuel. Both were born in Aragon and were attracted to Paris and New York. Presently, Orensanz is developing an open sculpture project in the same landscapes of Western Spain where Luis Bunuel shot his “Tierra sin pan”  (Land without Bread), not far from the frontier with Portugal.

Bunuel visited Angel  Orensanz’s studio and Foundation in New York, installed for the last 30 years in a building that was erected in the early 19th century and is the oldest synagogue building in Manhattan. Bunuel enjoyed that heartland of references and meanings.

Angel Orensanz enjoys Miami’s artistic openness and fervor. He has brought a trove of mythical reptiles cast in Miami, which are featured in his booth (#312) at the current Miami Art Fair. Besides his mesmerizing sculptures his booth is populated with paintings, drawings and photography.

His photography work at the Miami Art and Design fair displays how prominently the medium serves as the doorway to the inner mind of Angel Orensanz, through which we levitate in a universe of oniric and fantastic constellations.
Miami Art and Design - Angel Orensanz Foundation 20134

Theatre. We. LOVE – Ensemble Studio Theatre’s “Year of the Rooster”

“YEAR of the ROOSTER” – An EST/Youngblood Production – Eric Dufault asks you to “WAKE the F*#K UP!”

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

The EST/Youngblood production of Eric Dufault’s ‘YEAR OF THE ROOSTER’ begins its extended run January 2014.

Theatre. We. LOVE at the Angel Orensanz Foundation sits down with the cast and crew of EST’s production of “Year of the Rooster.”

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

The wintry months of January and February mark my second anniversary with the City of New York. Most of my time was spent with one hand gripping onto the handrail of “back home” while I tried to skitter around the perimeter of the city on borrowed ice skates. I’m still here, surviving, but it has taken all of those two years for me to come around to letting go of the rail. I have let go, and it’s due almost entirely to the three-month-long relationship I’ve had so far with the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngbloods production of Eric Dufault’s Year of the Rooster.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the ArtsAs you’ll see by the title of this blog and subsequent headers, the point of my post is to tell you about all the brilliant, hilarious, inspiring things that the creative team of Rooster had to say when they generously sat down to talk to their fan (me) for an interview. I will do that. I promise. And let me tell you, sitting around a modestly-sized conference table surrounded by people whose transformations into warrior-roosters and  power-hungry McDonald’s managers – it can be pretty overwhelming.

Not to mention the fact that proximity to playwright Eric Dufault (in all of his humble, talented niceness) kind of makes you torn between wanting to hug and bake for him or beat his brains out in a jealous rage. At least then you could see close-up what the brains would look like of someone who can invite his audience into the world of cockfighting and middle-America and give it the grandeur of gladiators fighting in a Roman coliseum.

Grandeur, I need to add, made possible by director John Giampietro‘s excellent choice to underscore the action of the play with classical symphonies and fugues by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Ensemble Studio Theatre - Year of the Rooster - Theatre. We. LOVE - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Playwright Eric Dufault has always had a strong connection with animals, and much of his work incorporates the idea of “talking animals”, including the ongoing production of ‘YEAR OF THE ROOSTER’ at EST.

“I’ve always written plays that involve talking animals, including chickens,” Eric told me. He explained that he grew up surrounded by animals as a kid, chickens and roosters included. “But I read this book called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some we Eat and that sparked the idea for Year of the Rooster. It included a section on cockfighting.”

Here’s a kicker. Rooster was the first play he’d written for the Youngbloods.

“I write pretty quickly,” he said.


Anyway, so this relationship – this three-month-long relationship I mentioned having with Year of the Rooster, it began back in the fall when the nightshift bartender from my favorite local pub – McCoy’s, on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen – showed me a graphic postcard advertising for the show at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. It’s this very image (at the top of this blog), the one of a rooster devised entirely out of matchsticks scorched to various degrees, that now graces the front of the program for the show.

The postcard instructed me to “Wake the F#$k Up.”

Which, honestly, I hadn’t managed to do yet since moving to the city two years ago. I figured I could use the caffeine.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Ensemble Studio Theatre presents: Eric Dufault’s “Year of the Rooster”. Above (left to right): Delphi Harrington, Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit: Russ Kuhner

“The energy of this piece – it’s not something you watch. It’s something you go through,” EST’s Bobby Moreno said to me later. Bobby plays the character of Odysseus Rex aka ‘Odie.’ He’s the rooster you root for, the one who wants to murder the sun. You know. That one. “The structure of the play and the way the audience is arranged around it creates an inescapable intimacy in the experience.”

In other words, Dufault’s storyline and Giampietro’s direction wakes you the f$&k up.

By the end of the show, I was doubled over in pain. My stomach muscles were on fire with the pain of laughing way too much and way too loudly.

I didn’t know where I was for much of the production. We sat in a small, intimate theatre on the second floor of the EST building on W. 52nd, but with just a few, sparse blocks of furniture (and an amazingly accurate recreation of a McDonald’s restaurant), I was transported to middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. Yet it was the physicality of the actors like Denny Dale Bess, an EST member since 2000 who plays Dickie Thimble in Rooster, as he strode through the space, cowboy-booted with a massive ten gallon-hat that transformed the location for me.

The production was so grounded and sincere in its commitment to each given circumstance – circumstances that grew more and more ridiculous and tragic as the plot progressed – that I forgot the Rooster world was one we can all agree is not “of us.” It’s an “other” world. Cock-fighting. Isolation. McDonald’s (both as an employee and gentically-modified chicken aka the brilliant Megan Tusing, I might add).

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST’s “Year of the Rooster” – From left to right: Thomas Lyons, Denny Dale Bess, Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner

Suddenly, we’re all from Oklahoma. Which we are, in our own ways. We’re all from that town, the one Eric Dufault creates with the characters of Gil Pepper and his aging mother, Lou. With Philippa and Dickie Thimble.

Of course, Denny’s family actually does originate from Oklahoma, I learned later in our interview, and these ties created a special bond for him with the environment of Rooster.

“I know these small towns,” said Denny, “each character in this piece is a part of my family.” In fact, the actors and Eric told me Denny’s relationship with Oklahoma was in large part the reason for the creative choice to isolate the play in his home state.

 But my wake-up call continued.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

From the Ensemble Studio Theatre production “Year of the Rooster.” From left to right, Thomas Lyons and Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner.

I was already shifting uncomfortably in my seat by intermission as I realized I was watching something happen that I dreamed was possible someday for my own writing, my own performance. The stagecraft was genius, reality grounded, characters as specific and genuine as ink-stamped fingerprints. I won’t go on and on about the beauty of the roosters when they really start to rage. It’s like watching a fully-staged battle scene in the opera, Carmen, but it’s just two guys and a bucket of feathers. You have to see what fight director Qui Nguyen came up with for the fight scenes in Rooster. You just have to.

But the wake-up call, it continued long after I had exited the theatre, having trouble focusing on my feet as I descended the stairs to the street, program clutched in my fingers.

I remember calling my mom (because who else do you call when you have one of your twentysomethings’ revelations about life?) as I walked to McCoy’s and telling her I’d found artists, real artists – the ones that create universes out of nothing, the ones who give everything of themselves to it without a thought. As much as I felt it, as a witness, imagine how the actors feel it every night they come together.

“I’ve never been involved in a cast where they show up two hours early to a call to do a line-through,” said Megan Tusing (seen below) during my sit-down. “They never do this show at less than 110-percent.”

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST’s “Year of the Rooster” – from left to right: Megan Tusing and Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner.

Stage Manager of Rooster Eileen Lalley, who calls such a tight show every night that I’m barely conscious of the passage of time, quickly added to this. “I’ve seen this show over a hundred times. I never get tired of it. I never sit in the dark checking my email, killing time. I can’t. The show always changes every night.”

EST member Thomas Lyons (Gil Pepper) pointed to his face, which had a pretty impressive shiner on the day of our interview and said, “Look at my face. This show doesn’t work on cruise control.”

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the ArtsYear of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST Member Denny Dale Bess in “Year of the Rooster” as Dickie Thimble. From the Unfiltered Production.

Watch Thomas for ten minutes as he battles with Megan, Denny, and his deliciously degrading mother played by the fabulous Delphi Harrington, and you see what he means.

EST has been operating for over forty years in New York City, developing new theatre in America to the tune of 6,000 new titles throughout their history. Programs like Youngbloods for playwrights under 30 serve to keep this mission alive.

We’re not blind to it. Budgets hurt. Theatre suffers as we suffer as the economy suffers, and there are no gymnasts flying from the rafters of EST dressed in spandex and shooting webs from their wrists.

I know I sat there among the actors and creative team, gushing about EST and Year of the Rooster, without a real clue of the difficulties and challenges behind keeping even such a historic company as the Ensemble Studio Theatre afloat.

I know, I know. I know. It’s tough. It’s tough as nails. We’re all roosters in a ring in New York City, fighting the biggest, meanest mother of a bird we’ve ever been up against.

But that art like Rooster can exist? Can be born into the world of commercialism on stage and celebrity-driven box office revenue and survive? And thrive? Here?


I guess it’s time to let go of the hand-rail, Zoe. It will all skate right past you if you don’t.

 Like I said, wake-up call.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST’s “Year of the Rooster” left to right: Bobby Moreno and Thomas Lyons. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner

So it’s been three months now, and I’ve followed with proud fanaticism the progress of the extension of Year of the Rooster at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. I see the team passing through McCoy’s every now and then and each time I unabashedly sprint towards them and repeat the same garbled lines of “being super excited to see it” when it re-opens.

They’re mercifully patient with me, but I think it’s because we see the same thing when we see that rooster devised of burned matchsticks. We see possibility. We see fire and power and drive. We see the future of art and theatre. And despite the cold and the money and the work and the fatigue, we know that we’re a part of it.

We’re part of that message that EST and thousands of other theatre artists are screaming throughout New York City:

Wake. The. F#^k. Up.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Taxi Cab: New York City from the Rear Seat

THE REAR SEAT: Answering Questions and Asking Questions.

The Journey of a New York City Taxi Cab

By: Al Orensanz, PhD; Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

taxi cab, new york city, angel orensanz foundation for the arts

The New York City taxi cab serves as a conduit between destinations, but also the interwoven lives of individuals within them.

Most of our day-to-day information accumulates through idle conversations, and it infiltrates our awareness unexpectedly. We interact constantly and randomly with people who talk to us or who listen to us. We are educated through radio and TV broadcasts, and we are constantly alerted by our cellular phones, iPad messages, radio transmissions and commercial ads blinking from the skyscrapers. Throughout the city, we are exposed to taxi cab drivers, vendors, compatriots, old colleagues, spouses, children, receptionists relatives and neighbors.

We traverse the city by taxi cab. Points of interest are brought in by the kaleidoscope of the streets, advertisements, shop windows. The curiosity grows and a decision has to be made: should I engage or retreat? I still have some 30-odd minutes of taxi traveling left. Let me ask the driver. He is most likely talking on a device that I do not see.

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“Light Matter” by Angel Orensanz. The commute, even by taxi cab, can be the venue for inspiration and art.

Darkness engulfs us both. He has the front window available to scout and evaluate traffic strategies. I can see the sides but not my rear window view. My options are very limited. His are much wider and diversified. The driver initiates a conversation with me. The surroundings act as a backdrop. Our conversation gets more intense and specific as our trip progresses. The backdrop of the city moves and evolves as traffic weaves around us, providing context. The centerpiece of the discourse is a reservoir of memories, references, adapted anecdotes that are formulated and adapted to this specific moment and circumstance.

You never ride a taxi twice; you never talk to the same taxi driver twice. The streets are the same, and the buildings blur and dissipate in the immediacy or the distance. The speed renders the faces imperceptible. My attention splits and divides as I interact coincidentally with the driver and the city around me: on-going conversation is syncopated and distracted every few seconds.

Inside a New York City taxi cab, the darkness surrounds both parties. Conversation is either inevitable or avoided at all costs

Inside a New York City taxi cab, the darkness surrounds both parties. Conversation is either inevitable or avoided at all costs

The questions and answers are all stereotypical. We do not see faces but we hear our voices. With that alone, we can establish a bridge of communication. Obviously, our allocated time is short; the view of our faces is limited therefore is not engaging. The context of the streets and roads we circulate speeds ahead of us fast and uncompromising. There is very limited time for self and mutual exploration. Most of the time we instinctually agree on a common subject matter inconsequential for both sides.

The last moments of engagement come when the trip is ended; and we both descend. These are very short moments, seconds, of the encounter. But they are crucial, ceremonial and engaging.

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“Light Matter” by Angel Orensanz. The voyage as a source of inspiration.

While the departure from inside the taxi is uneventful, the farewell is reduced for the most part to the paying of the fare. The departure at the airport is marked by the eventful ceremonial of many other departures and arrivals: the suitcases, the trunks, the flowers bouquets, the gift-wrapped boxes, and the garments.

taxi cab - new york city - angel orensanz foundation for the arts

The New York City taxi cab.

The departure within the city streets and the departure at the airport have very different ceremonials for both the driver and the passenger. The taxi ride within the city has the specific limits of a domestic movement that remain within the domain of the immediate. The trip to the airport has the flare of a departure away from the confines of the routine, the familiar and the controllable.

We never look back to the departing taxi cab as it pulls into the street, having deposited us at our requested destination. The expensive and weary routine has been completed. Whether en route to an airport or twenty blocks home from work, the departure from the rear seat, from the interplay of questions and answers, results in a ever-hopeful forward glance to the journey ahead.

In the Steps of Gargallo: Figurative Monuments in Metal Sculpture

In the Steps of Gargallo: Figurative Monuments in Metal Sculpture  

By: Al Orensanz, PhD., Director - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts  

Abstract or figurative? This was the disjunction with which all the artists of the time were faced, and even though pictorial modernity in Spain had for some time already been inclined to informalism, sculpture artist Angel Orensanz followed the cautious steps of his admired Pablo Gargallo and Julio González, and those of so many other more recent sculptors that also vacillated between the abstract or figurative.

This was especially true if such artists aspired to dedicate themselves to monumental sculpture, since this type of commission is almost always given by the authorities, who in the Spain of that time were not as open and modern as some more advanced private or corporate patrons.

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Monumento a la Jacetania. Ángel Orensanz. Monumental sculpture. 1969.

It is thus not at all surprising that it was for a private collector, owner of a sculpture park in Bellaterra (Barcelona), that the first totally abstract exempt monument erected by Angel Orensanz emerged in 1969: a menhir of 7 meters in height which he executed in two blocks of stone, working by carving directly into grooves and irregularities, which this time were not reserved only to the upper parts, but also extended throughout the lower parts.

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“Monumenta a la Jota” – Angel Orensanz. Sculpture. 1970. Spain.

In contrast, on September 25, 1970, feast day of the patron saint of the village, Angel ORensanz inaugurated in Albalate del Arzobispo (Teruel) his Monumento a la Jota (Monument to the Jota), in which for a change the abstract geometries remained confined to a tall poured-cement podium.

This serves simultaneously as a backdrop for the ground level statue of a well-built singer of jotas, and as a podium on which are raised those of a pair of young dancers: they are once again hieratic figures —something striking in the representation of joteros, even though the dance of Albalete is known for its grace.   They are formed of geometric planes, like those of the Saragossan monuments to the Mother and to Tío Jorge; but this time Orensanz uses for the first time cut and welded steel plates, marking out planes and hollows in a style derivative of the cubism which was so widespread in the Spain of the transition and the start of democracy, one of whose most tenacious exponents would be the Aragonese José Gonzalvo. This said, the model for this solemn mastery in the evocation of volume based on plates and striking hollows was none other than Pablo Gargallo, Aragonese sculptor well known to Orensanz, since he had dedicated to Gargallo,

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“The Great Prophet.” 1933 (bronze) – Pablo Gargallo. Sculpture.

We can say that Gargallo’s splendid Gran Profeta (Great Prophet) has, as adopted sons, two colossi of imposing beards and manes made by Angel Orensanz for the cities of Jaca and Monzón.   The Monumento a la Jacetania (Monument to the Lands of Jaca), raised in 1969 in the square of Biscós in Jaca, is a gigantic titan 7 meters in height and more than two tons in weight, which represents in concrete and steel a pilgrim of the Road to Santiago. The figure’s facial expression shares the limelight with a model of the cloister of the monastery of San Juan de la Peña carried in an offertory gesture with arms outstretched, also in steel. In the lower part, below an oculum of Romanesque reminiscences, the pillars that evoke his body have on each side of a split which represents the Aragon river crosssing the Jacetania in vertical alignment, four sculptural vignettes decorated with fired-enamel gold paint, in which are paid homage other typical elements of the region.

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“Monumento a la Jacetania.” Sculpture. Angel Orensanz.

These include the Holy Grail of San Juan de la Peña, the Cathedral of Jaca, The Book of La Cadena and musical instruments—and also a modern industry as well as an skier (of which he also made a larger version, with welded iron plates, which has been in the exhibition Los Orensanz de Orensanz).

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“Monumento a Joaquín.” Costa Monzón, Huesca, Spain. Angel Orensanz. Sculpture. 1978.

His Monumento a Joaquín Costa (Monument to Joaquín Costa) in his native city of Monzón is also colossal: in this case the homage to Gargallo’s largest and most well known sculpture is even more evident, since the celebrated deputy raises his arms like a prophet preaching. This imagery is not typical in any picture of Costa, but is very appropriate for the staging of the “Grito del Agua”, when every September 14th social groups of all kinds gather before the monument in homage to the great apostle of regeneration and irrigation. His strange gesticulating figure in plates of enameled steel presides over the Avenue of Lérida from a podium of coffered concrete, before some pillars, also of concrete, which serve as a visual backdrop on the other side of the fountain.

Once again then, a very stage-like composition in two parts, like in the monuments to Tío Jorge and the Jota, although the style here is already very different, much more abstract than figurative, since it is of much later date, for it was inaugurated by the local authorities on September 21, 1978, as is stated on the identifying plaque. This same plaque alludes to the financing of the work by CAMPZAR, a savings entity which a few years later would place works by Ángel Orensanz in front of their Saragossa headquarters.

Art Basel 2014: Basel, Miami Beach, Hong Kong

Art Basel 2014 - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Art Basel 2014: Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong

by: Zoe V. Speas, The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

A strong tradition of art fairs in the international arts community emerged out of a need to cultivate connections between artists, galleries, and individual patrons, regardless of cultural or geographical divides. This year, the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts is proud to promote the Art Basel 2014 art fair in Miami Beach, Hong Kong, and Basel.

The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts presents the work of founding artists Angel Orensanz at such fairs as Art Palm Beach 2014 and Miami Art + Design (MA+D), but also presents artist materials and publications such as ARTSCAPE Magazine to the Art Basel 2014 Fairs out of Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong.

Art Basel 2014

Visitors gather at the exhibition area of the Gallery Bernier/Eliades (Athens) at the international art show “Art 39 Basel”, in Basel, Switzerland. Art Basel 2014.

(From the ART BASEL 2014 website.)


Connecting the international art community has been Art Basel’s goal since its beginning. Now, over forty years later, it ranks as the premier show of its kind, presenting 20th and 21st century art with a strong curatorial perspective. Its tradition of excellence across a wide range of genres offers visitors the most vital art that the world’s best galleries can offer.

In both Basel and Miami Beach now, and in Hong Kong moving forward, the week of the Art Basel 2014 show teems with parallel exhibitions and cultural events, creating an exciting environment that deepens and strengthens the relationship between gallerists, artists, curators and collectors.

Art Basel 2014

Art Basel 2014 links the artworlds of Miami Beach, Basel, and Hong Kong through its international fair.


The dynamic relationships between art galleries, their artists, private collectors and public institutions play an essential role in today’s artworld. Galleries support emerging artists by funding their production, introducing them to the artworld, and helping to shape and develop their careers. Well-established artists are generally represented by gallerists who over time have built an extensive international audience for the artist, both through shows in their own spaces and by promoting their work worldwide. Similarly, galleries active in historical material can help to increase or revive interest in an artist long after their death.

Today, fairs such as Art Basel 2014 function as the primary global promotional platform for galleries, allowing them access to a massive number of collectors and curators, people who come to fairs not only to discover new artists and new galleries, but also to deepen their engagement with those that they already know. Thus, a successful fair is one that not only generates sales for exhibitors, but also spurs new collectors and curators to follow the activities of their favorite artists all over the globe – and drives them to see shows in the year-round spaces of the galleries that have supported those artists so strongly.

ARTSCAPE Magazine Now Available!

It’s here! The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts proudly presents the latest issue of ARTSCAPE Magazine.

Now available for print or online subscription, ARTSCAPE Magazine is LIVE and ready for you to download today.

Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts - ARTSCAPE magazine

The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts – ARTSCAPE Magazine Summer/Fall Edition

ARTSCAPE Magazine reflects the cultural and artistic activities of the Angel Orensanz Foundation, a Manhattan-based organization for the arts and culture. Operating out of a beautiful, gothic-inspired building designed by Alexander Saeltzer in 1849, the Foundation seeks to reflect and maintain the artistic energy that pervades the New York City community.

Our magazine serves as a conduit between the affairs of the Foundation and the network of producing artists and innovators throughout New York City. By presenting content that relates art to implications of society and global culture, ARTSCAPE provides up-to-date arts-news coverage in the universally accessible format of vivid imagery and engaging texts. The goal remains, as always, to spark conversation and foster connectivity in an ever-expanding and ever-changing city.

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ARTSCAPE magazine – in print and available for purchase at The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts. Photo credit – Alexa Eskinazi

This edition features a collection of all-new reports on the arts scene in New York City and beyond. 

ARTSCAPE Magazine Articles Include:

  • Sacred Space: Art in Non-Neutral Environments
  • Language, Mind and Memory
  • Building an Art Paradise
  • Origins: The Influence of Space and History on the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Visit the Angel Orensanz Foundation homepage for more information about the Foundation and upcoming issues of ARTSCAPE Magazine and our NEWSLETTER!

Banksy Street Art: The End of an Era

The End of an Era: A month of Banksy Street Art in New York

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Banksy Street Art residence in New York City - from October 27 in Greenpoint.

Banksy street art residence in New York City – from October 27 in Greenpoint.

October has been a busy month in the art world. We had a government shutdown, a Banksy street art residence, and consequent reactions ranging from outrage to a revitalization of  the question of defining art.

It all ties together, really, and that’s what I wanted to talk about before Halloween hits us full-force tonight and it’s November before we know it or remember how it came upon us so quickly.

banksy street art

The shutdown. Remember when that happened?

(Hey.  Remember when THIS happened?)

The first piece I wrote for the Angel Orensanz Foundation was a discussion about the definition of art, creatively entitled, “What is Art?” I scratched it out in a pitifully banged-up notebook during the long train ride from Richmond, VA to Penn Station, NYC.

I talked about how art is fundamentally dramatic—there are countless full-length theatrical dramas and comedies featuring characters that are artists or connoisseurs of art because of this quality. Whatever definition you assign to art, I believe it must allow for the drama and the conflict that is created by putting brush to canvas, hands to clay, etc. We thrive off of this drama, we need it, and we live for it because it illustrates the constant questions that percolate beneath the surface in us from day to day.

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Tahir Square. Angel Orensanz. Politics in art.

Too bad our society isn’t crafted to allow for the necessity of art.

In fact, we spend a lot of effort and money marginalizing art into something to do with leisure or entertainment. But there’s a difference—a monstrosity of a difference—between leisure/entertainment and art. Leaving the theatre after a production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal or Shakespeare’s Richard III, I’m certainly not at my leisure. Entertained? More like slapped in the face by humanity.

By the way, those productions I just listed? Totally playing right now in NYC. Check them out. You’re welcome.

So, of course, when the government shut down for the first time in seventeen years, what’s the first thing to be cut from funding?

banksy street art

Always the first thing to go: shutting down the museums, shutting down the government.

The National Endowment for the Arts. In other words, the museums—the culture hubs, the “non-essentials.”

And in the middle of that conflict, Banksy comes to New York City for a self-curated artist’s residence and stirs the pot for us.

Banksy - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts - New York City

Banksy street art at Yankee Stadium. October 30, 2013.

Banksy’s street art residency is called “Better Out Than In: an Artist’s Residency on the Streets of New York”, and beneath the stencil-outline header, a quote from Paul Cézanne triumphs the mission statement of the work.

All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.

I’ll say that perhaps the “outside” to which Cézanne referred might be of a slightly different context than the interpretation apparent in the Banksy street art, but in terms of impact? Banksy’s been spot-on.

banksy street art

“Better Out Than In” – Bansky street art residence in NYC. October 2013.

All of a sudden art—regardless of how you define it—emerges as a buzzword, a hot topic, the spark that ignites a city of people, young and old, desperate for a cause to impassion them enough to speak out.

It’s impassioned me, anyway.

I’ve spoken to gallery owners, artists, event planners, businessmen, and students about Banksy street art in New York this past month and I encountered no one who had nothing to say, no comment to add. In fact, the topic has served as a jumping-off point to larger issues of politics and society and the boundaries that divide generation from generation.

For myself, I have always been loath to discuss political leanings with friends and acquaintances—the ensuing arguments inevitably evolve into a loop of misunderstanding and personal affront. I prefer to stay within the realm of art and theatre where I feel comfortable arguing my beliefs—and yes, maybe that makes me a coward, being afraid of engaging in a dispute for fear of defeat or humiliation.

banksy street art

Banksy’s Greenpoint portrait being painted over by a masked woman. Which is the graffiti – the Banksy street art or the silver paint obscuring it?

Graffiti does ruin people’s property and it’s a sign of decay and loss of control,” the mayor said, “Art is art, and nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am–you running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted.” 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, October 2013.

And yet, this October, I found myself spewing fire over the contradictions arising between vandalism and art, between art as a necessity and our unhesitating cessation of its funding when goings get tough, between the opinions of the Mayor of New York and the arts community of his city.

Banksy’s residence brought me to a single, perhaps obvious conclusion:

If I argued before that art is fundamentally dramatic, then it also must be deeply political.

I’m going to risk sounding like a college sophomore writing a term paper and quote the dictionary at you here—a definition of the word political“relating to relationships of power between people in an organization; to affairs of the state or government.”

Relationships of power between people. Yup. Sounds about right.

Art becomes the venue through which people can argue rights of individualism and power upon a level playing field. There are no mayors, governors, nor presidents: only personal expression and paintbrushes. And regardless of what you think of the Banksy street art and its artistic merits, his residence challenges us to question our relationship to one another, to our government, and to the city walls that house and protect us. 

Call it graffiti or call it art.

It was swift, it was dramatic, and it defined the month of October for me and countless other New Yorkers. Happy Holidays, everyone.

The Titanic That Never Arrived To New York – Angel Orensanz

This is a very conceptual and beautiful art work by Angel Orensanz in New York on the Unsinkable Ship, The Titanic.


The Titanic that never arrived to NY is a series of interpretations and sculptorical reconstructions carried in New York by sculptor Angel Orensanz of a world iconic tragedy. It has captivated Ireland, Great Britain and the US with its tragic narrative of Homeric proportions. It is a world event, a cogent narrative, and constantly referenced within art. Over the last 4 years Angel Orensanz has developed an ongoing visual narrative about this iconic tragedy.Several passengers of the ill fated vessel were associated with our building. As a matter of fact, a couple depicted in James Cameron’s film as drowning  by the rising tide in their chamber were members of our community of Norfolk St. in Manhattan. But what has made Angel Orensanz come back again and again to the subject matter is the powerful narrative that music, theatre, the text, the photography, and the films have built across the generations.  Nothing so compelling since the Greek classics has been written about perpetual fight between nature, human progress and catastrophe. The Greek and Roman writers and sculptors selected current episodes and made them into dramas of universal appeal.Over the course of two years Angel Orensanz used for long periods of time the dramatic spaces of his Foundation building in Lower Manhattan installing and readjusting landscapes of color fabrics and theatrical lights, smoke and water to build narratives of this episode that portray the colossal fight between humans, machines, and nature.

The Titanic that Never Arrived- by Angel Orensanz

The Titanic that Never Arrived- by Angel Orensanz

The exhibition has been installed and is visited by hundreds of people who explore the areas of the Museum that function on the Foundation’s higher floors. From its wide windows you can see the East River shores, what used to be the Port of New York and where the Titanic was expected to dock.  Japanese Television got wind of this installation and taped the sculptural construction, making it into a cogent documentary that broadcast to all of Japan live on TV. The tape is available for free from the Foundation and is 10 minutes long.

Armory Brunch at The Angel Orensanz Foundation

The Angel Orensanz Foundation will provide It’s  Armory brunch from March 8 to March 10 parallel to the Armory show in New York City. The event will be held at the Museum level from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. The artwork “Transparent Matter” by artist Angel Orensanz will be on display for all participants of the Armory Brunch. The Foundation will open its private collection to the public who can also attend a conference  on the “Arts in the lower East Side”. By Al Orensanz a sociologist and writer specializing in urban sociology, the history of the labor movement and social change. He is also the Director of the Angel Orensanz Foundation, Inc., in New York.

The Angel Orensanz Foundation is located at 172 Norfolk Street between Houston and Stanton Streets on the Lower East Side of New York City, New York.

Please RSVP at or for FACEBOOK RSVP, giving you the option date which you able to attend for brunch:

March 8:
March 9:
March 10:

Transparent Matter

The work of Transparent Matter by artist Angel Orensanz will be on view at the Foundation starting March 8 with a delicious brunch and a talk on “Art on the Lower East Side”. The brunch will be held at the Museum level of the Angel Orensanz Foundation from 10:00 am

– 1:00 pm. Please RSVP at or
March 8
March 9

Transparent Matter by Angel Orensanz

a Piece form Transparent Matter Work by Angel Orensanz



Transparent Matter. Visionary Theoretical Notes

at the Orensanz Exhibition.

For the last 50 years, American engineers and scientists have transformed the way we see and conceive the urban landscape. As in so many other areas of American culture, the story involves a strong intermingling of European and American research and experimentation. Seminal and provocative concepts from the Bauhaus and other German artistic movements as well as from Hungary, France,Holland, England and Italy were joined to those of early American dissenters, in the process changing our entire visual vocabulary and grammar.
A key figure in this process is certainly Gyorgy Kepes (1906-2001), possibly the most seminal thinker in contemporary art and architecture, who is to be joined by Colin Rowe (1920-1999), Robert Slutzky (1929-2005), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and Mies van der Rohe 1886-1969), among the towering figures to develop new conceptualizations.
To generalize, the enormous wealth of theory and experimentation produced by these intellects in the past century can be given the name ”phenomenal transparency” or the capacity of two figures to interpenetrate without optical destruction of each other. This became a basic concept in modern and contemporary architecture, design and photography in the first place, but, it later proved to be fertile in the field of the visual arts as well.
It is within this conceptual framework that one can understand Angel Orensanz’s photography of the last 15 years. It is artwork the sculptor developed in several countries, including Russia, Japan, Wales, southern France, central Aragon and New York. In his latest developments, Orensanz uses an acetate screen, interposing it between his lens and the subject. Previously, he used plastics, his transparent sphere, very thin fabric, silk and fibers.
The exhibition “Matter/Light” presents a major segment of this new work, consisting of 18 boxes lined up on the balcony level of the grand hall of the Foundation. These boxes burst into the surrounding darkness like windows into outer space, like eighteen vantage points into a world of visual poetics. In each one, viewers experience double or triple layers of imagery. The phenomenal transparency provides a conceptual tool that allows one to peel off layers of imagery and narratives. As Gyorgy Kepes might have remarked, the figures of the acetate are superimposed on images of waterfalls of Wales, and the layer of distant sunsets, in a succession of refractions, pile up one on top of the other without any “visual destruction” of any of the layers.
Gyorgy Kepes, one of the artists of ”phenomenal transparency, worked with two objects, one from the private realm and another from the public realm. The private real is conveyed by the acetate layer that works as the support of the manual, the objectual, a craft-like reminiscence; while the landscape or layers of landscapes behind the acetate alluded to the public realm.


Transparent Matter by Angel Orensanz

a piece of Transparent Matter by Angel Orensanz

Transparent Matter by Angel Orensanz

a piece of Transparent Matter by Angel Orensanz