During a recent trip to New York City I learned how you never know who you may cross paths with.Moreover, you may not realize who you've passed by while going about your life until you witness how small the digital world of Instagram can be.It was a beautiful day in Manhattan when I spotted an artist busy at work along the High Line. There is nothing better than seeing an artist standing at his easle, completely absorbed by his craft. I snapped a photo of the artist and posted it to Instagram with the hashtag "#ArtistAtWork".Before I finished my short commute from Chelsea to the East Village,my phone beeped with an Instagram notification."Great shot",the comment read."It's artist Laurance Rassin."Just hours after strolling the High Line,not only could I put a name to the face of the artist,I also had a phone interview scheduled with him.The digital shift in the art world is undeniable,but some aspects remain unchanged;History,respect and community.
Laurance Rassin is an artist whose talents know no limits. His works create "a sumptuous and color filled world, enveloping his audience in signature large scale impasto oil paintings, bronze sculptures,ceramics,film,tapestries,and textiles..." Beyond the canvas, he is "the first contemporary artist to preside over the closing bell at NASDAQ"and is the artistic director and founding member of The New Blue Riders.Rassin's talents and dedication to his work speaks for themselves,but what adds to the volume of Rassin's achievements and ambitions is his devotion to building community through The New Blue Riders.
The New Blue Riders,"a twenty-first century contemporary art movement whose purpose is to exhibit new forms of expressionism in a group setting", is the brainchild of Rassin and David Noah Burliuk.The two joined forces after meeting in the Hamptons in 2009. Burliuk, a New York artist,is the great grandson of Russian Futurist and original Blue Rider member David Davidovich Burliuk. He "continues the family tradition of producing futuristic works of art in sculpture, watercolor, oil, and architecture."
To understand the New Blue Riders, you need to be familiar with the Blue Rider.The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) was a "group of artists united in rejection of the Munich New Artist's Association (Neue Künstlervereinigung München) in Munich, Germany.The group was founded by a number of Russian emigrants and native German artists. They considered that the principles of the Munich New Artist's Association had become too strict and traditional."
Like The Blue Rider,the core of The New Blue Riders is Expressionism.This core value breaks down the walls of grouping specific art mediums.It not only enables, but also encourages artists to explore and learn about other art mediums.The New Blue Riders'exploration of expressionism includes an "array of art forms..Sculpture, Architecture,Ceramics,Culinary, Fashion,Textiles,Tapestry,Photography,Craft, Cinema and Art-mation."
The art world can be cut throat.The beauty of art collectives is they generate and foster community in an otherwise competitive field. "Artist collectives have always existed", Rassin reminds me. This fact may be true, but there is something more alluring about The New Blue Riders compared to its counterparts. The New Blue Riders isn't just creating an environment to harbor artistic talents. It is paying homage to art history,to artists who paved the way years and decades before its time. In a country that continues to deplete art education, The New Blue Riders is a vital resource to artists who not only want to be inspired and encouraged by the styles of others, but also want to put the pieces of art history together. History, no matter what subject it pertains to, is necessary in the task of linking our past and our present to understand how we,individually and collectively, have arrived at this point in time.Like Rassin echos,"Art is long and life is short."
The New Blue Riders currently have a pop-up show in Chelsea (547 W.27th Street) running until October 31st. To learn more about the New Blue Riders, you can check out their website,Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.