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July 6th, 2004

alt art arena: expression from the edge of nyc nightlife

by Anya Hard

Teeming with all the myth and magic accorded and due a New York City erotic art event, the Arena Studios Group Show opened May 19th to a lush, admiring, captivated, and often captivating, V.I.P. and R.S.V.P. only crowd.

The Arena Group Show expanded the limits of creative presentation by being held in a sensually wicked atmosphere, with much rock ?ɬn’ roll, nightlife celebrity appeal. The multi-medium display was open to the public May 19th through June 30th. Arena Studios featured the work of several up-and-coming fine art and alternative/underground luminaries including: s.e.a., Rainbow Blight (lead singer of Hate in the Box), Richard Boswell (Billboard Magazine, Transworld publications), Lisa Fortin (owner/artisan, Steel Couture), Guy Gonzales (Vibe, Spin, The Village Voice, D.C. Comics), Ekko Katzen, Tonya Knudsen, Saori Kuno (proprietor of the new Williamsburg store Rabbits), Emma Louise (owner and curator of the Dollhaus Gallery, Williamsburg) Lucky Lawler (ed-in-chief of New Work Waste), Laurent LeBeau, D. Clark MacPherson, Misa Martin (watch for her upcoming book Ignited New York, a collaboration with painter Steve Ellis and Michael Formika Jones), Troy Morgan, M. Reyes, Cari Resurreccion, Leda Resurreccion, John Santerineross and Joe Sundlie (Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and WWD.) Sponsored by MERCY Magazine and, the show was curated by Tonya Knudsen, who moderates an art forum on the popular nightlife and culture website and who, in conjunction with, curated ARCADIA! THE ARTMAKER TAROT, a group show comprised of nearly 30 artists, which opened last summer at CBGBs 313 Gallery.

“Working with this caliber of talented artists; with the subject matter being as invigorating as these works are; and, with the space itself being so visually transcending and vibrantly randy; to organize and hang this show was the kind of hard work that makes one glow with enthusiasm as it comes together bit by bit,” said Knudsen, video camera in hand documenting the event. “I am so excited that this art in particular will be shared with the public and that this type of unique setting was available to us.”

And Arena Studios is attuned to these works. According to Troy Morgan, whose sizzling photography was a highlight of the exhibition and whose images appeared in the show’s promotional campaign, the space is “Patron Saint to all things fantastically fetish in New York City.” Arena Studios relocated from Mid-Town Manhattan to SoHo in the late summer of 2003. At that time, the Arena Studios team set to work “using an open loft as a blank canvas to create a new resource for image creation and display.” And, it seems with the opening of this show and future art events, including a fall show by D. Clark MacPherson called “Soho Nudes-1969-2004”, they really have reinvented the arena from tip to toe. For more information on Arena Studios, visit

Anya Hard

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York





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