organized by Ryan FoersterSeptember 11–October 24, 2015 320 West 13th Street Project
White Columns is proud to present a solo exhibition by the New York-based artist Silvianna Goldsmith. The exhibition has been curated by the artist Ryan Foerster and consists of a series of paintings on paper produced by Goldsmith in Mr. Choi’s watercolor class at Washington Square North Senior Center, New York in 2012-13.
Writing about his ongoing relationship with Silvianna, Foerster wrote:
It was the top floor on 18th Street near 7th Ave. The stairs went straight up the middle. She had half the floor front to back. In 2007 I met Silvia when she was getting evicted from her studio. Silvianna Goldsmith. Ed Lefkowitz had introduced us. He was at the Camera Club every day. I needed work and he put me in touch with Silvia. I showed up to help her pack everything up. The studio was amazing. Skylights. Wood floors. A mattress in the middle of the room. Pots to catch water from leaks in roof. Reels of film everywhere. Some large paintings leaning against a wall. Records, books. Stacks of paper. What’s this? “An announcement for a screening of my film ‘Orpheus Underground’. That was ‘72.” Who’s this? “Thats me.” You’re covered in blood. “Ha! Yes. Protesting the Vietnam war at MoMA.” Holy shit. “I think I spent the entire ‘70s in chains. We protested everything.” I slowly got to know Silvia and discover her work. We moved all her stuff out to Brighton Beach. She has a small house there that she used in the summer. She has lived in the East Village since the ‘60s. Bits of 16mm on the floor. Flowers, chains. Looks like a nightmare. We bonded over photography. She used to be a member at Camera Club. We emailed back and forth keeping in touch. She showed up to a show of mine on Henry St. She took the bus. A screening of ‘Orpheus’ at the Library on 10th Street. Finally I get to see it! Teeth getting pulled. Memories of Havana – a nightclub in Queens. Teaching English. Teaching film. Fighting terrorism since… I love that she wears that shirt. I moved into her house in Brighton Beach in the winter of 2011. She used to tell people that she was my adoptive grandmother. Ages would match up, but we were friends. She would come out to Brighton and listen to WQXR. We’d talk shit. I’d show her art books I’d gotten. Things I’d been working on. I slowly pieced together more things from her past. Learning. Being inspired. I began to use her old studio that she had built onto the side of the house. I discovered a few small drawings. A green and red drawing with ‘INSPIRATION’ scrawled across it. “That’s what I felt when I came to Brighton. I just made that one day I showed up here.” Stories were told. “Jack Smith … I helped him film a performance out here. Maria Lassnig … she was one of my best friends. We started Women Artist Filmmakers together. Guerrilla Art Action Group … I did lots of protest actions with them.” Tacos El Rey for lunch. Coney for a walk. The garden grew sunflowers. “I was in Cuba at 15. I stayed with Wilfredo Lam. Dancing. Painting.” … “My shelf has broken, can you come by? Please bring some chicken soup.” Wow! What are these paintings? “Oh just some things I made at the senior center the other year.” – Ryan Foerster, 2015
Silvianna Goldsmith is a New York-based independent filmmaker, artist and photographer whose works includes ‘Orpheus Underground,’ an experimental feature that aroused controversy for its eroticism and violence. She was a founding member of Women/Artist/Filmmakers, Inc.; taught personal film at the Women’s Interart Center; and was on the board of the Filmmakers Co-op of New York. Her video ‘Oneiro: In the Shadow of Isadora’ with Lori Belilove, was shown on Metro Arts Thirteen in May, 2004. She continues to work with dancers, in multi-media and digital photography. ‘Lil Picard’ was shown in the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition ‘The Color of Thought, the Color of Ritual’ in 2000, and at the Eighth Annual MadCat Women’s International Film Festival in San Francisco, in September 2004. The paintings on display at White Columns were made in Mr. Choi’s watercolor class at Washington Square North Senior Center in 2012-13.
White Columns would like to thank Ryan Foerster for introducing us to Silvianna Goldsmith’s work.