Latest Posts

Experience Mapping:The Birth of a Cow

In the first few minutes of arriving at a working cattle ranch in Colorado, I witnessed the birth of a calf. In the next 12 hours we would kill a coyote in defense of the calves on property and the second bullet shot was with a pistol in my hand. It is my intention to keep close, the polarity and cycle of life and death in close proximity. Reminding myself that this is all about production and consumption.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 8.21.22 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 8.21.44 PM

The calves mother was really struggling to rear it’s child so the ranch hands Alex and Cody stepped in to assist with the birthing process, with a touch of unintentional violence. Watching this calf and the interaction it had with it’s mother, on a cattle ranch was truly remarkable. I could not stop thinking about how this site was the perfect setting for another ONTOPO.

The sound of a coyote howling in the night should not be fairly reproduced with a recording device. Try to hear it IRL.

Time on the ranch was more than what i bargained for. I think back to these ideas I explored with the Last Weekend Project in 2013. I was taking a deeper look at the proximity of production and consumption: make food then eat it, make masks and clothes to wear to the ball that night. Learn how to Vogue and then later compete: The Hollywood Babylon Ball was born! One of the best parties I’ve ever worked on and DJ’ed. Maia Ruth Lee and Julie Ho ran a costume making contest while Heidi Lee showed guests how to make origami hats. The House of Ninja ran the most incredible voguing workshop.

ONTOPO furthers the workshopping and experiential retreat idea by hosting future primitive pop-ups all over the world. How else can humans work the land? Being here on this cattle ranch opens a new potential for interpreting sites by the land that surround it. Land use and human function, at play. I dream of a medium that is beyond a performative or experiential work and it’s documentation. This trip is meant to survey and plan the next Ontopo. It is experience mapping slash event pre-production. Time and space are compressed here and I want to define a new interface – and have fun while doing it.

No I’m not going to post a video of me shooting a gun. But I will post the video of the calf being born whenever the internet comes back around.

Project MLab Detroit

“Narnia? Naaa”

“Community Building, Urban Renewal words politicians use as platforms. Guys not running for anything, not running from Detroit actually did something – in days”

Photos by Jeff Caldwell

I was invited to tag along as an advisor in Detroit back in 2009 for Project M Lab. This was also a time for me to learn more about improvisational and interpretive happenings and how that relates to design and site specific work. I love improvising a DJ mix, this was not as fun.

DSC_0010 DSC_0001

A group of students and educators who don’t know each other show up to solve a problem that was yet to be defined. Of course I did what designers normally do and took a look at found type, which proved to be extremely useless.

That’s one of our hosts: Doug Kisor who is the chair of the design department at the Center for Creative Studies. Looks like we are standing in front of a Diego Rivera!


KIDS!DSC_0032 (1)


We ended focusing on the the problem of urban planning and decay in the city of Detroit. You can’t do much to address this issue in a few days and I wasn’t about to get seduced into creating a ruin-porn photo essay that raises awareness. What can you do about sprawl and abandoned blocks of decrepit housing? You can focus on HORSESHOES and COMMUNITY BUILDING. A post-techno-dance-less community rave blow out, for me. Once again, I wasn’t there for the big party!

DSC_0217 DSC_0204

Marley Natural Launch

Last night Marley Natural launched in the Hills of Hollywood and even though I don’t smoke, I signed up for a card and had to come and celebrate! Deidre Dyer edited the Marley Natural magazine which I designed and David Merten is on as creative director for a line of products and brand design that makes Marley (and Cannibis) feel a bit more contemporary.

Bob Marley, Bottled! A New Skin-Care Line Celebrates the Jamaican Superstar’s Legacy

Marley Natural’s Elegant Pot Gear Is for Smokers Who Say ‘Whoa Sir,’ Not ‘Whoa Dude’

Maggie Morris, David Merten Creative Director, Jen Leong and Ginny Hwang.
That is I on the right with Deidre Dyer Editor-In-Chief .


Chinatown Drone Footage

Today I felt comfortable enough to try this circular 360 POV video using my drone’s advanced pilot setting. This shot was taken today from above Common Space Studio on Bowery and Grand street in lower manhattan. I purchased the drone earlier this year to photograph the Outlier Inn for my Ontopo retreat project and Lumeria, an educational retreat center in Maui. I have practiced quite a bit upstate, testing and crashing it up in the wilderness. I’ve got enough flying time now  and I’m the habit of flying with extreme caution in NYC.

A few weeks ago BDDW held their annual Weenie Roast and I offered to come up there and take video with my drone. I guess I didn’t think it through but those guys have enough skill to shoot one down with a (giant) bow and arrow.

Today’s sortie was limited to 20 Meters up while keeping the circling POV radius within 10 meters. The drone I use is a DJI Phantom 3 which weighs 2.8 lbs and is not subject to any looming FAA regulation because it’s basically a toy.

ref: BandH Photo Video
ref: Where to fly a drone in NYC, legally

Interview w/ K8 Hardy

In her notable video project New Report: Morning Edition (2005), she and fellow artist Wynne Greenwood stage a mock newscast that explores issues of objectification, media, and feminism. “It’s stylish to be a feminist now,” she says, but specifies that this has not influenced the way she works. It isn’t that her pieces have a feminist agenda per se, but rather that she exists in a personal feminist domain, from which her work emerges.
K8 Hardy
Photo: Alessandro Simonetti

She also addresses the looming presence of business and industry in art, but feels the public attention given to that sector far outweighs its significance to the art itself, especially for her. “How we interact with the world is commercial, but it’s not commentary on the art world that people sell art. That conversation is so much bigger than the reality. There are a handful of people who sell art, and I’m not one of them.”

Hardy has also delved into fashion in her work, producing a runway show for the 2012 Whitney Biennial and creating a capsule collection for the 2011 JF & Son pop-up shop in New York. These pieces are cut-and-paste, incorporating found materials, and they exhibit a wit and skepticism in the way she confronts the expectations of the form. “I think high fashion is being more artisanal, and that was more industrial and produced in a factory kind of way.”

Photo: Alessandro Simonetti

Feminism, commercialism, and fashion are just a handful of the myriad topics impacting the life and work of K8 Hardy. By playing all sides, K8 portrays her self with a conceptual framework of nearly infinite simultaneous perspectives. “On a personal stylistic level I’m responding to what’s happening in the world. I trust that doing me is interesting enough in the long run.”

K8 Hardy
Photo: Alessandro Simonetti
Interview by Jon Santos
Photos by Alessandro Simonetti

Published 2015 in Office Magazine

Interview w/ James Fuentes

James Fuentes. Photo: Kathy Lo
James Fuentes. Photo: Kathy Lo

I met James Fuentes when I moved to downtown New York City in the fall of 2003, when he was working for Jeffrey Deitch. I shared a loft studio on Grand and Crosby, down the street there was a vortex of cultural activity coming from Deitch Projects. They had skate ramps, hosted art parades and workshops, and they brought a populist tone to a part of the art world which made the myth of being a career artist feel attainable.

The incredible spontaneity and energy of that time was characterized by geography, in particular the loose divisions between public and private spaces. James Fuentes was the first person that I knew of who decided to go out on his own to start his own gallery space. I recently met up with him at Cafe Katja on Orchard Street to find out how his enterprise came into being. 


Jon Santos — How did you arrive in New York?


James Fuentes — Well I was born and raised in New York City, I went to Bard College upstate, so after studying I came back to the city, but I came back with a whole different sort of lens. I had a different relationship to the city, and I knew all these artists from school, and basically I’ve been active with artists ever since.


JS — But your education at Bard wasn’t in curatorial studies or an MFA, it was undergraduate liberal arts… did you have a focus on art?


JF — No. Filmmaking and anthropology, those were my focuses. But in a way I was pursuing an interest in possibly making my own art or film or video work, but then out of school I just kind of realized that because I felt so comfortable in the city, that maybe I could create opportunities for artists in the city. I met Jeffrey [Deitch] very early on, maybe five or six months out of school, like in ‘99. I was at an opening in Leo Koenig’s gallery in Brooklyn. And Leo did a gallery swap with John Weber. So there’s this Sol LeWitt show in a garage in Greenpoint—I know. And of course Jeffrey was there, and this cowboyish Williamsburg guy who I was friendly with said “Hey man, I know Jeffrey, want me to introduce you?” And I said “Yeah, that’d be cool.” Remember the cowboy hats in Williamsburg? So that’s how I first met Jeffrey and we just kind of kept in touch. Jeffrey opened a gallery in Williamsburg right before September 11th, and then like five days after September 11th he moved out and was completely, “I’m not going to have an annex gallery in Brooklyn now.” But then me, Tim Ronan and Alfredo Martinez took over that space which became Beacon’s Closet on North 11th, and we did a show there. So my connection with Jeffrey was strengthened by the fact I kind of inherited this space. But he didn’t want to seem like he was abandoning Brooklyn at all, it was just a matter of practicality. He stayed in the mix. He wanted to continue the conversation, he promoted our show…


JS — What was the space called?


JF — We called it Entropy, It just lasted for one show. But it was a crazy, crazy show, like seventy artists… Paz De La Huerta was in the show, she was a student at St. Anne’s, Alfredo borrowed Basquiats for the show, which he ended up forging. There’s all these crazy narratives that overlap, because Jeffrey was also on the authentication committee, it was a crazy time.


JS — And at that time you already knew you wanted to be involved in the curating and exhibiting of artists’ work?


JF — Yeah, totally. And it manifested itself in all of these different one-off ways. I mean also the time necessitated it, after September 11th. It wasn’t like there were jobs or exhibition opportunities, so it was a time people were making opportunities for themselves. And for me it was a great way to learn, be collaborative, and be open. It was crazy pitching this show that would become Artstar. I had been in New York my whole life, but it was one of those moments where it felt like your dreams can come true in New York. Like I’m walking into a meeting at Rockefeller Center right now to pitch a television show…it felt wild. It was also the one time my interest in filmmaking and my activity in art actually overlapped. It was kind of the ultimate project for me as all my interests were wrapped up in it. We got a deal in 2003, it was finally broadcast in 2006. Artstar was very low budget. We made eight one-hour episodes for a million dollars, which I guess for television is not a lot. But you know, we did it. Because there wasn’t that much budget for scripting, it made for kind of a bland viewing experience. Out of those eight hours, there was probably an hour of compelling television, so it wasn’t a crazy success. It only really reached eleven million across the United States. It was broadcast but it was as if it didn’t even happen.


JS — So you were working on it for three to four years?


JF — Yeah, it takes that long for something like that to happen. I wasn’t working on it full time, for all that time. In 2003 I started working as a gallery director in Chelsea, and then in 2004 Jeffrey asked me to come work at the gallery, so I worked for him for a couple of years.


JS — So technically in the production of this show, would you call yourself a producer?


JF — I was an Executive Producer, and Co-Creator.


JS — But it was as if Jeffrey was doing the show, the public could view it that way, because he was the star.


JF — Basically there was an open call at his gallery, and it culminated with a group exhibition. He would invite people from his world to come over and do critiques, and they would visit their collections. It was good. I think it would actually at the end of the day hopefully function as an insight to the New York art world to a kid studying art anywhere. Because we had gotten it off the ground, that’s what lead me to start working for Jeffrey.


JS — Can you talk a bit about your experience working for Jeffrey, and how that influenced what you are doing now?


JF — What I appreciated about Jeffrey was that he advocated for non-academic art, which sounds like a simple notion, but I think it’s actually kind of an intense and radical position. I think it’s the most non-elitist way to look at art. I really identified with it because I grew up in a very working class kind of environment, first generation American. I was down with that concept. I’d see him with very important clients, and he’d revert to this fourth grade grammar. It was the most legible, clear, straightforward kind of way to talk about art that really impressed me. And it also made me feel it was an accessible thing for me to do, to be a translator for artists. It made that idea feel less daunting.


JS — The role you play with presenting artists to the public, also with Artstar, there are some things that have happened in the last years that are unprecedented. Can you talk about pictorializing an artist in that light and how it affects what you do?


JF — Yeah, I’m kind of dealing with it firsthand right now with Amalia Ulman, who has 74,000 followers on Instagram, was on a panel with Klaus Biesenbach, Hans- Ulrich Obrist, Simon de Pury, and a founder of Instagram [Kevin Systrom], and she was the only artist on the panel. The founder of Instagram was saying, “Everyone’s an artist on Instagram,” and Amalia’s kind of the poster child for this right now. What’s interesting to me is that Amalia’s just employing this tool. Amalia has created an Instagram persona which is kind of kindred to a Cindy Sherman or a Nikki S. Lee project where its like, ‘I’m going to be this person’ and the persona is dealing with strategies that Instagram celebrities use, and also ninety percent of the images are completely appropriated on some level, she’s pulling them in out of the stratosphere, and creating this really strong narrative. I have been just astounded by her ability to create a celebrity out of herself, it’s not like she has an army of PR people. It’s like this feedback loop, which is pretty incredible to watch. We’ve had other instances where artists blow up, but I would say Amalia’s case is the only instance where she’s directly addressing celebrity as a part of her work.


JS — Do you mind if I ask how this affects your relationships with artists? Do they leverage their celebrity?


JF — Out of all the artists I’ve worked with in ten years plus, she’s as professional, and as down to earth as it gets. It’s an important thing for a lot of people that there’s an element of name recognition for the artist that they are interested in, but for some of my favorite collectors, and for many great museum curators, it’s not the only barometer they use. I’ve been fortunate to be able to sustain my business and have it grow by not being overly concerned with that all the time. It’s a pretty local tight knit kind of thing.


JS — What was it like to leave Deitch Projects and start your own gallery? Did you do it at a time that felt it was the right time?


JF — It was cool. Yeah, I mean I felt like, I was approaching thirty, and I had gone through in my twenties, there were a couple instances where I felt like maybe I should find a different career path, you know. I felt like I had put so much love into the field, but I didn’t feel I was getting any love back. So, I was definitely at a crossroads. I was pretty much prepared to leave the art world after Deitch Projects. But then basically I found this space that had a sign in the window, it was a two story building, said $2,500, four hundred square foot apartment upstairs, four hundred square foot storefront downstairs, and I visualized this is where I can live, the gallery would be down here, I just visualized it through the fucking window. I was like if this is for real, if I could rent this space, this will be my gallery. So it was really just happening on this fucking space, because in New York so many of our projects are so dependent, and our livelihood and our quality of life is so dependent on space. You know, like space is so important. So I think I had suppressed the idea of opening a gallery in 2006 after Deitch because I didn’t really think it was feasible. I knew how intense it was to be a gallerist, especially after many years, I figured it’s basically the kind of career path that only escalates, it only gets harder the longer you are in the field you know, which is crazy, I always had this idea that I wanted to do something where I could chill the older I got, you know?


JS — That’s probably not the reality right? 


JF — Yeah that’s definitely not the reality.
JS — What are the challenges to staying relevant?


JS — So, that PS1 Expo show a couple summers ago, remember that?


JS — Yeah.


JF — At the gallery at the time I had a show by an artist who came up in the 1970s, this guy Richard Nonas, and he was known as the most mystical of the post-minimalist artists. So he kind of came up with Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, and Gordon Matta-Clark, they were collaborators. Literally his sculptures, just steel, readily found steel cut geometric forms mixed, and wood, found wood that he chops, kind of makes little assemblages. And so after the expo show, which was so progressive, very of the moment, and even forward thinking, I mean I loved the show, it spoke about ecology, spoke about post-Internet, it spoke about all of these important really great things, there was 3D printing, and all this stuff, it was great. But then I go back to the gallery, and I see these chunks of wood on the wall, and I realize I’m a fucking dinosaur, you know?


JS — I don’t think that’s true. That’s interesting that you have that perception, because you can’t step out of your body.


JF — Right. But it was a crazy sort of thing.


JS — Like ‘the world is moving fast’ kind of thing.


JF — Yeah. I think it also speaks to the strength of Richard Nonas’ work too, ‘cause something I would say about his work when people would ask me, “Oh how has his work changed over the last thirty to forty years?” was that actually it hasn’t changed, you put a piece of his work from thirty years ago next to a new work you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But because what he was talking about was almost like a bridge between the industrial era and the pre-industrial era, what’s interesting is how the world changes around it. His work just fucking remains so solid.


JS — And I think that’s a great thing.
JF — I think that’s a great thing too. But it really impacted me in such a way that made me take stock, rethink my program, kind of realize that you know, I like to be both in the past and present, and thinking ahead, I like doing it all. But it made me sort of want to participate in that conversation more again.



JS — The PS1 Expo conversation?


JF — Yeah, the expo. I don’t feel out of touch with it, I feel very connected to a lot of those artists and that work, but it was interesting. I think the best thing that I realized about me and my program, is just like it further made me acknowledge like who I am, I’m a Gen Xer, I’m very analogue. That doesn’t mean I can’t participate in these new conversations, but it’s also really important to realize that.


JS — Downtown New York City…now and then.


JF — That’s my favorite subject. [laughs] That’s a really deep one.


JS — Maybe start with what was up when you entered.
JF — So when I entered downtown in 1977, [laughs] I can say that my earliest memories were like seeing art, Keith Haring chalkboard drawings, like on the subway. I grew up on Madison Street and I saw this very iconic mural by Lee Quiñones on Madison Street. It had this Donald Duck character with a thought bubble and it said “If graffiti is a crime, then may God forgive us,” and it was this crazy scene. So as a kid, growing up I felt like I was absorbing a lot of art all the time, but it was street art, you know? I hate calling it street art cause I feel like that’s only a very recent term. So those were the seeds for my interest in art. Pre- 9/11 and post-9/11 downtown were very, very different. I would say downtown now, as compared to when I started my career, is—I don’t know. Maybe this is kind of what everyone in their thirties who’s been there and done that and is looking at the next generation thinks, maybe this isn’t accurate…but I think that artists right now coming out of school are the most careerist they’ve ever been, to a point where in many instances it’s not allowing for most growth. Amalia Ulman, its almost like even her careerism is part of her work. She’s got it, she’s tapped into her voice, she’s young. But you know Joseph Kosuth was younger, forty or fifty years ago when he had his first show. I don’t think it’s out of the question for an artist in their early to mid twenties to be starting a career. I don’t think that’s out of the question at all. But I do think it’s unfortunate that artists who are in their early and mid twenties right now less and less seem to be able to, or want to afford themselves time to explore, and to take chances, and just be kind of more open to what the world might bring. I see that as an unfortunate by-product of the strength of the art market right now in New York. Particularly, if you’re twenty-five, and you have a solo show anywhere, its like you’ll sell out your show, because there are so many hungry collectors for the newest stuff. And when it’s at a reasonable price point, forget it, you could be cashing in left and right if you want.


I think for a young artist it’s difficult to resist that temptation to want to participate in that, everyone wants a piece of that right now, also maybe out of necessity, maybe they have student loans, you know it might just be the nature of the beast, its a very expensive city to be in right now. I feel that downtown has lost quite a few of its qualities that defined it when I was younger, but I think a lot of it’s still there. My director James lives around the corner, he’s tight with these Grand Century kids around the corner on Grand street, they have artist studios but they also host shows there that are only up for like a day, but they are really good. There’s actually tons of artists living in Chinatown and LES right now, which I was shocked to learn that’s even possible. I think there’s still an opportunity to have a semi-nostalgic experience as a young downtown artist, there might be a couple of the people that were around in the eighties or nineties, that you read about, that are still lingering around that you can still be in dialogue with. But, its like every day huge chunks of it are literally being erased, and I think that New York has lost a lot of artists and talent to other cities. Like a year or two ago a young artist moved to New York and moved to the outskirts, Ridgewood was an outskirt and now Ridgewood has gotten expensive, and now those artists are moving up to Hudson or to Detroit. I think we are kind of in a semi-crisis in that respect, that New York is losing a lot of the people that make it so great. The artists that define this huge community, a lot of great artists, figures young and old are being lost, they are leaving New York.


JS — And simultaneously you are working with an artist that is an international, Amalia Ulman, that isn’t localized, that’s an interesting shift.


JF — Yeah she’s not a New Yorker.

Anicka Yi, Bacteria Print Donation

Bacteria Photograph (AY-15-PH-010)Anicka Yi has generously donated a bacteria print in support of our Common Space Modular website application fundraising campaign. Both the artist and her gallery, 47 canal have agreed to a special pricing of $1,500.00 for this framed print that is currently selling for $3,000.00.  We are so thankful for this contribution!

For context, you can read about Anicka’s show at the Kitchen on Artforum. She currently has a solo show up on view at Kunsthalle Basel and recently exhibited at MIT where she was able to develop the process to create this work.

I have had the fortune of working with Anicka Yi on numerous collaborative artworks over the years: Video / installation for Shigenobu Twilight and a collective that we formed with Josh Kline called Circular File %CF.

If you are interested in contributing to Modular and would like this print, please visit our campaign page, select the perk listed at the bottom for Anicka Yi and follow purchase instructions.

Common Space Modular (campaign funding) <


Detroit's north end. Facing downtown

Detroit’s North End

The Common Space narrative plays itself out in various formats and mediums. I think of a theoretical point for which the visual arts intersect with music and architecture. Common Space began as my design thesis project and at some point I was given the opportunity to see it play out in real-time and off the printed page. What was once a theory I could see applied. Recently I’ve looked back to Detroit where I grew up going to clubs and helping to create unique experiences within a music community. This video summarizes a trip back in which I took a look at Detroit’s North End, currently a place of interest where I would love to some day host an ONTOPO in one of it’s variant forms.

On this trip home in 2014 I met with Carlton Gholz of the Detroit Sound Conservancy who introduced me to O.N.E. Mile. They and other groups have been working to preserve the history of Detroit’s North End by engaging the local community with music events, community gardens, artist non-profit projects, spaces and more. I dropped in and spoke to a few folks and asked around why music isn’t best kept as an MP3 or Cassette tape.

The North End was originally part of Hamtramck Township, but was annexed by the City of Detroit in 1891. Along with the rest of Detroit, it experienced a cultural and economic boom in the 1920s and 1930s, due to the success of the automotive industry, and the district continued to experience growth. Many Motown musicians came from the North End, including Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin.


Rave Labor

Sound Styling + DJ Sets by $hayne Oliver (Hood By Air, Ghe20 G0th1k), Matthew Patterson Curry (Safety Scissors), Alexis Georgopoulos (ARP), Set Styling byAndrea Huelse Design. Architecture + UX by Labour NY, Leong Leong, LOBO, Volido, Common Space, Exposure NY & *HB* collaborative. Relaxation and healing by Lisa Levine. Created in collaboration with Josh Kline.

Work-Life balance is on everyone’s mind these days. Rave Labor was a pop-up work party that I hosted in 2013 via Skype from San Juan, Dominican Republic. The party took place in the PS1 performance dome which multitasked as a design studio. I invited seven design firms to work on site and setup a DJ lounge where friends and professional acquaintances could enjoy themselves and network. It was also a performance event open to the public. This was one of many creative collaborations with Josh Kline.

The labor and lifestyle of creative workers—graphic designers, architects, DJs, sound designers, prop stylists, and artists—will were presented as performance, an HD, 10,000-lumen graphic-design planetarium.

Rave Labor (infomercial) by Jon Santos and Josh Kline, presented by PS1 Sunday Sessions at KW, Berlin.

tumblr_mm4xc6fOgg1qalf5ro1_500 tumblr_mm4xc6fOgg1qalf5ro3_r1_500

Social Mirroring

Social Mirroring. Sitting in a circle.

A workshop that examines communicative dynamics within social group settings.

Social Mirroring (Rehearsal) Friday May 03, 2013 Hosted by the New Museum
Location: the Old School: Prince and Mott Street, New York City. 12-2pm

We can improve our sense of self and relieve social anxiety by interacting with groups of people. This work was performed by a group of volunteers, Organized by Common Space, Choreographed by Jon Santos in collaboration with Lisa Levine and Juri Onuki with a sound composition by Abby Echiverri.

Social Mirroring (Performance) Saturday May 04, 2013
Hosted by the Storefront for Art and Architecture
Location: Spacebuster. Sarah D Roosevelt Park, New York City. 12-2pm

The Last Weekend: 2013 Overview Video

2013 programming was balanced in such a way where we could experiment with the creative cycle / implemetation. We had the chance to test out some ideas on how to focus workshop efforts earlier in the day into something that could be implemented later on in the evening. A simple example was the Masquerade / Ball party which essentially some workshops earlier in the day were meant to be put to use later.

Ex: Heidi Lee : Origami Hat Making > Babylon Ball
Ex: Confetti System : Pinata Party > Babylon Ball
Ex: R-WW-R : Costume Making > Babylon Ball
Ex: House of Ninja : Vogue Dancing > Babylon Ball

2013 Overview. Video: Common Space with Yuan Liu.



2013 House of Ninja Voguing Performance. Photo: Jimmy Pham.



2013 Hat Making with Heidi Lee. Photo: Yuan Liu.



2013 Tie Dying with Shabd. Photo: Yuan Liu.


Burning Dome

By Jon Santos
January 5, 2013

In this work, Spatial design is reduced to a symbol. The form of the geodesic dome personifies architecture and acts as it’s effigy.

Upon the occasion of the first Last Weekend event in 2012, I asked Huy Bui and his team to construct a geodesic dome with the intension of burning it down. The dome represents the utopian visions of Buckminster Fuller and the optimism of 1960’s counterculture. The process of burning it in this context is a cleansing ritual. I think of the geodesic dome as an aspirational utopian form, stripped of it’s function.

Coincidentally, In the spring of 2012, a dome was implemented to be used as a performance venue at MomaPS1 in Long Island City. A month after we burned our dome at Camp Lakota fall 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard and as part of a relief effort, MomaPS1 implemented another performance dome at Rockaway.

The cultural zeitgeist and symbolism of the geodesic dome is no longer burdened with nostalgia.



Blind Carbon Copy

Common Space presents a group exhibition with artists Andrew Kuo, Sebastian Kim, Jon Santos, Milano Chow, Deanne Cheuk, Saiman Chow, Masayo Kishi, Yuh-Shioh Wong, and Confetti System.

Wednesday June 3rd through Sunday June 7th, 2009
Location: 179 Canal Street, 2nd Floor

“Blind Carbon Copy” is a sly appropriation of a day’s corporate drama. Narrative action item: Global media conglomerate headquartered in New York City commissions program bringing to the table ethnic diversity. Visionary program shall jam the culture inbox, host panel discussions, culminate with cutting edge art exhibition in midtown corporate lobby. Month of June: the Asians. Global conglomerate enlists core competency to brain dump Asian American artists to hang their art in beige hallways of media triumphalism. Eleventh and a half hour division head issues the disintermediate: Shut it down.

At the end of the day refers to what happened during the day – what got dealt, what got salvaged, what got tossed out. At the end of the day, “Blind Carbon Copy” re- shuffles the deck to communicate an elliptical difference, even as that difference opposes clear definable equalities. The featured works vary from fashion photography to drawing, sculpture, graphic art and video. Much of these artists works deploy a detachment of assimilative meaning.

Genres of ethnicity, commercial, fine art start to slope from fulfillment of distinction to interrelations, intricacies and contradictions of meaning, a ghost without a host gliding past various check points of identity.

Exhibition hosted by Margaret Lee
Organized by Common Space


Resurrection_v18-slideshow 87

Jon Santos, asked over 50 artists earlier this year to bring something back from the dead. The result – Resurrection – a self published book compiling images and texts created by artists who were invited by Santos to create work for this publication.

Resurrection was inspired by a visit to the Manila South Cemetery in the Phillipines, where his grandmother is buried and where families live in makeshift houses in-between mausoleum’s and stacked casket grave sights. It was here that Santos encountered a 9-year-old boy who was born and raised amongst graves and wilted flowers, a community made up of families squatting beside mausoleums. The fine line between life and death became eerily apparent, and the analogy of life cycles within popular culture triggered a concept. Resurrection is an amorphous and omnipresent theme, existing in various mediums of music, art and fashion.


Resurrection_v18-slideshow 48


Resurrection_v18-slideshow 85




Contributing Artists: AK Burns, Andrew Kuo, Andrew Paynter, Anton Esteban, Antonia kojuharova, Asha Schechter, Aurellio Valle, Babak Radboy, Bob Linder, Carol Taveras, Cendrine Colin, Christopher Ruess, Christian Jankowski, Dain Blodorn, Dana Kline, Daniel Jackson, David Merten, Dennis West, DJ Language, Doug Lee, Emi Takahara, Emily Counts, Eri Shoji, Eugenie Huang, Fatima Al Qadiri, Francine Spiegel, Glynnis Mcdaris, Gordon Hull, Hisham Bharoocha, Isabelle Lumpkin, Jackson Von Pfosti, Jane Virga, Jen Yazon, Jennifer Juniper Stratford, Jeremy Campbell, Jill Bradshaw, Joe Malagrio, Jon-Paul Villegas, Josh Kline, Juan Mendez, Kamau Patton, Kazumi Asamura, Ken Miller, Kim West, Kon Trubkovich, KT Auleta, Mariah Robertson, Masayo Kishi, Nathaniel Hamon / Slang International, Peter Simensky, Peter Sutherland, S.E. Nash, Shu Hung, Sue Costabile, Susannah Sayler, The Blowup, Tim Koh, Timothy Hull, Trevor Shimizu, Wes Lang, Wowch, Wyeth Hansen


“I was overwhelmed by the close proximity of life to death and how somewhere in between those two states of being there is a void which in this case was very literal,”

Resurrection is an amorphous and omnipresent theme existing in various mediums such as music, fine art and design. The work in this book ranges from drawings, paintings, collage to photography, video, architecture and costume.






Full Color, 44 pages. 2011. Published by Common Space.
Large format publication 11 x 16.5 in

Pâté is an appraisal of Kuwaiti taste. Blurring the line between fashion and art-book, Pâté explores how affluence, the West, censorship, and religion have shaped a nation’s style. In concept, Pâté is an homage to The Better Class (by Alice Colombo), a satirical fashion and lifestyle publication created in 1974. Borrowing the structure of The Better Class, Fatima Al Qadiri and Lauren Boyle have assembled a pastiche, pairing the most unapologetic text from Western fashion writers with rare images from various fields of Kuwaiti taste such as architecture, interior design and radical makeup art. In this mash—this fashion “spread”—Pâté captures the aesthetic evolution of an Arabian Gulf state from the 1970’s to the present.



NadaWave 2014 Save The Date(s)

2014 Common Space is co-hosting Omar Souleyman with Jeffrey Deitch and NADA.

NADAWAVE is a series of musical performances created by Common Space and organized in collaboration with NADA (The New Art Dealers Alliance) that take place during the Miami art fair held in December each year. 2014 will be our fourth year. NADAWAVE is a reference to the “No Wave” movement of underground music, super 8 film, performance art, video art, and contemporary art that had its beginnings during the late 1970s through the mid-1980s in downtown New York City.

NADAWAVE is a cross section of reactionary artists who innovate musical genres through experimentation and improvisation. The series focus is on those who create unexpected audible forms at the overlap and unlikely combination of sounds that take root in jazz, hip-hop, electronic, bass, funk, noise and experimental music – presented in the context and vibrance of a high energy dance party.

#nadawave 2011-2013 contributing artists: Venus X, Fatima Al Qadiri, Kingdom, NguzuNguzu, Total Freedom, J-Cush, Lauren Devine, Lafawndah, KWow, Nightfeelings aka Teengirl Fantasy, Drooids + Merkx & Gwynne, Neon Kobra, Eric Duncan, Malcolm Mooney, Matthew Higgs, Joakim.







Shigenobu Twilight

Shigenobu Twilight is a limited edition handcrafted scent by NY based artist Anicka Yi and architect Maggie Peng. The scent uses three different kinds of cedar wood as its base note, along with violet leaf and nutty heart notes, and top notes of yuzu, shiso leaf, and black pepper. The packaging for this hand-distilled fragrance is made of raw cedar wood, each one uniquely hand-cut in architectural geometry, encasing a 10ml glass bottle of liquid within.


We worked on graphics, a short film and and produced an event to launch the second edition of 50 units.


tumblr_mhd66e1vdV1qalf5ro1_500 tumblr_mhd66e1vdV1qalf5ro2_1280
Anicka created multiple fragrance tablets impregnated with the fragrance Shigenobu Twilight for an exhibition at GAMeC in Bergamo, Italy. These sculptures are part of an ongoing umbrella project she has been developing called the Flavor Genome. This project seeks to explore an elaborate mapping of subjectivities through the concept of “flavors”, taking reality as an elaborate matrix of perceived unique essences. We worked with Anicka to design and produce packaging for the fragrance tablets that were inserted into the exhibition catalog.






Common Space is pleased to announce Telegraph, a sound installation installed at the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s 30th Anniversary Gala at 5 Beekman Street in New York City.



Telegraph is a “re-coding” of the song Telegraph recorded by the British New Wave group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in 1981. We commissioned Matthew Patterson Curry (Safety Scissors) to remake the song by deconstructing the composition into individual tracks which will then be re-performed to span 3 hours of time.

Telegraph played in conjunction with another sound installation by Vito Acconci titled “You Are Here (& there, too, etc).” This work includes a journey through Storefront’s 30-year history. As part of the piece, Acconci narrates and interrogates the organization’s exhibition history with his own personal commentary. The installation will move throughout all rooms on the 9th floor via custom sound software designed by David Rife.

Telegraph seeks to create a virtual mis en scene of unrealized space deploying interactive bodies, actors in a performance of spatial awareness.



Houndstooth Dogtent

F.S.C. hosted a design build competition during camping trip which called for the creation of a primitive luxury good. Participants were asked to take the “roughing” out of “roughing it.” Common Space teamed up with Matt Penrose & Situ Studio to create a collapsable dog tent made with bio-degradable plastic. This prototype shelter is collapsable and comes rolled up in a bag.



2011, 3 single channel looping videos projected onto a folding table, plaza wall and bed-sheet hung in a hallway. Site: Intramuros historic district in Manila, the capital of the Phillipines. Curated by Anton Lopez. November, 2011.