Q&A with Residency Unlimited’s Elsie Kagan

We’ve partnered with Residency Unlimited and are co-sponsoring another exhibition of theirs titled RU Exhibition: Reclamation.

Don’t miss this spectacular show staring the work of  Ahmed Alasad, Mariam Alnoaimi, Elsie Kagan, Judith Leinen and  Ran Zhou. As their installations will be up for view now until November 10th at Compère Collective located on 351 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn

On view: November  6 – 10, 2019
Location: Compère Collective, 351 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn
Hours: 12 – 6pm

Curated by Anna Cahn for Residency Unlimited

You can view their site here to learn more about this organization and read their announcement about working with us and using our space.

Please reach out directly to info@realtycollective.com, if you have a project or idea you would like to host in our space.

Q&A with Elsie Kagan


Q.How has being a resident in NYC affected or contributed to your art?

A. I’ve been living  and working in New York for almost all of my adult life as an artist, so it is fair to assume that working in this city has had a significant impact on the nature and content of my work, and even my sense of self. I frequently yearn to get the hell out, to escape the density and the pressures and the sense of scarcity this place can demand. But it is always giving me something too, restoring me with endless sources of inspiration and support.


Q.What do you plan to do next?

A. I have two big plans in the works. One is that I have recently founded a non-profit residency program for artists who are also parents. Located in Upstate NY near Hudson, it will offer 4 week residencies to artists, who are free to bring their families with them. They will receive monetary support, housing and studio space, some prepared meals every week, and studio visits from the wealth of artists and arts professionals in the area. I just incorporated, opened the residency for applications, and plan to begin programming in early Summer 2020.

The second plan is a year of travel to develop new energy around my work. I will be going through Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, and parts of South and Central America. Along the way, I will be attending residency programs when possible and working with artists or artisans to produce new project ideas or learn new skills. I will be traveling alongside my husband and our three children, who will be 11, 9, and 5.

Q. How has your work developed since your last exhibit?

A.Although I am continuing in the same vein as my previous exhibition, my work has a quieter and more condensed feeling to it. I am simplifying the imagery and this simplification is actually allowing me to be more playful with the paint.

Q. What brings you joy as an artist?

A. I am always searching for a sense of freedom, play, and surprise within my working process. Since I was a young girl, I have never once tired of the magic of paint and color, though the pressures of professional development and the marketplace are now waiting to put a damper on what is happening in the studio. My joy is when everything else falls away, and I am completely immersed in the materials that I love.

Q. What under-appreciated NYC artist, medium, work, or location do you think people should know about?

A. One of my favorite spots in the city is Greenwood Cemetery, in Windsor Terrace Brooklyn. It is a fabulous and sprawling place, full of monuments to New York luminaries from the past. It is one of the highest points in Brooklyn, with amazing views from its upper hilltops. It is also full of amazing trees and plant specimens, with a different feel in every season of the year. The bird life in the cemetery is also wonderful, even aside from the lively flock of green parrots that live among the turrets of the Gothic gate structure at the entrance to the area. I love how undiscovered and quiet it is now, though it is also fun to imagine how at the turn of the century, it was a very popular spot for socializing, with all of New York coming out to sit among the gravestones to picnic on summer days. To top it off, the cemetery also hosts amazing programming during the warmer months, including concerts, tours, unusual theatrical productions, and even a Victorian circus and a period re-enactment of the famous Revolutionary war Battle of Brooklyn, which took place in the area.

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