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Currently on view at the Jamaica Center for the Arts in Southeast Queens is Early Days & Latter Days, a captivating exhibition of early and recent works by the celebrated painter, poet and philanthropist Danny Simmons. Spanning both of the center’s galleries, the works on view reflect the self-taught artist’s wondrous imagination and impressive skills.  

The image featured above, The Painter, was fashioned back in 1999 with oil on canvas. Several more images captured on my recent visit follow:

“Hammered Oaths,” 1998, Mixed media

“Noisy in the Next Room,” 2014, Oil on canvas

Among those created during Simmons’ recent residency at Jamaica Center for the Arts:

“Blackout,” 2021, Oil on fabric

“Blue Breeze,” 2021, Oil on fabric

“Pretty Please,” 2021, Oil on canvas

And interspersed throughout the exhibition are traditional African objects — an homage to the artist’s ancestral and spiritual inspirations. Pictured below is Danny Simmons‘ 2017 oil painting “Drip,” along with a Songye figure from the Congo.

Located at 161-04 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, the Jamaica Center for the Arts is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm.


Featured in this year’s NYC edition of the Fridge Art Fair are several artists representing ART BreakOUT. The image featured above, “Keeping It Together,” — fashioned with acrylics on canvas — is the work of the young, gifted self-taught artist Michael Vivar.

Several more images of works on view through this Sunday at gallery onetwentyeight located at 128 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side follow:

ARTBreakOUT co-founder, visual artist & arts educator Bonnie Astor, “Untitled,” Mixed media

Yonkers-based self-taught artist Michael Cuomo, “Untitled,” Ink pen and oil pastels on clay board

Bronx-based self-taught artist Atlas Lee Torres with two of her artworks, “Untitled,” Micron pen & markers on paper

NJ-based, El Salvador-born visual artist & photographer Dani Reyes Mozeson, “Face It!,” Pen on paper

Queens-based self-taught artist Daniil Trofi to the left of his two works, “Untitled,” Acrylic paint & crayon on paper

The Fridge Art Fair continues through 6pm Sunday. Check here for hours.

Special thanks to Atlas Lee Torres for co-curating the ART BreakOUT segment of the Fridge Art Fair and to its founder and director Eric Ginsburg for his support.

Photos: Lois Stavsky


On view through May 21 at the Local Project in Long Island City is the particularly timely duo exhibition, Imperfections. Curated by neo-expressionist artist Adrian Bermeo, it features artworks by the the Queens-based multidisciplinary artist Cavier Coleman and the mixed-media visual artist and Sour Mouse curator Bree Chapin. While visiting the always-welcoming non-profit space on Friday, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Adrian.

The theme of this exhibit, according to your curatorial statement, relates to issues surrounding mental health in NYC. Why did you chose this particular topic?

Within the past several years — especially since the onset of the pandemic — there has been an expanding conversation around the issues of mental health. What are the benefits of therapy? What taboos are identified with it? How do we deal with these taboos? And how do we work through personal issues? I, myself, am now in therapy, and I was interested in igniting a dialog on the subject. I’m also interested in increasing awareness of resources out there that could help us cope with the mental distress that so many of us experience in this fast-paced society.

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The title of this duo exhibition is Imperfections. Can you tell us a bit about why you chose it? What is its significance?

None of us is perfect. It’s our imperfections that make us who we are — that make us human. And we all have them. It is important, though, that we be aware of them.

Do you feel that artists struggle more than folks who are less creative?

No. We all struggle. But artists have an outlet. They have the means to deal with their struggles that others may not have, and they have the power to affect positive change.

How did you decide which artists to feature?

I’m familiar with both artists: Cavier Coleman and Bree Chapin. They have very different styles that — I feel — work well together. Also, they are both open about their issues and utilize art a positive means of personal expression and release.

You have a closing party scheduled for this Wednesday evening. Can you tell us something about it?

Yes. It will take place this coming Wednesday, May 18 from 6-8pm at the Local Project, 11-27 44th Road. I will be moderating an artist talk featuring both Cavier Coleman and Bree Chapin to be followed by a Q & A. Personal experiences and mental health resources will be shared.


  1. Adrian Bermeo with Bree Chapin (“Tabby,” Acrylic on canvas) to his left and Cavier Coleman (“Everybody Blue Sometimes,” Oil, oil pastel, gold leaf on canvas) to his right
  2. Cavier Coleman, “Om Shanti,” 2020, Oil and gold leaf on canvas
  3. Cavier Coleman, “End Line,” 2022, Ink, enamel and oil on canvas
  4. Bree Chapin, “Drinky,” 2022, Acrylic on canvas
  5. Bree Chapin, “Everything Is Fine (Marilyn),” Mixed media, glitter and acrylic on framed canvas

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky


Featuring a diverse range of works in varied media by over 20 artists crossing cultures, backgrounds and generations, “Home: The Spaces We Inhabit” opened to the public this past Thursday, May 5. Curated by ART BreakOUT founders Bonnie Astor and Lois Stavsky, the exhibition remains on view at the Local NY through June 27.

The image featured above, “I Waved at the City, and It Didn’t Wave Back,” is the mixed-media work of Brooklyn-born, self-taught interdisciplinary artist Dominic Bielak — under the gaze of the noted American urban culture photographer and videographer Henry Chalfant. Several more photos captured at Thursday evening’s opening follow:

NYC-based Bangladeshi visual artist Kaiser Kamal — poised between his two abstract mixed media works on canvas — explains his aesthetic to us

Multidisciplinary artist Susan Spangenberg alongside Emily Dickinson,” crafted with acrylic and charcoal on canvas

Manhattan-based self-taught interdisciplinary artist Marc Shanker — alongside his two mixed media “Luna Park” monoprints — relates the history of this series

ArTech Collective artist Lamija Kurtovic to the right of her acrylic painting “My Future Home” — in the company of her ArTech Collective family

ArTech Collective Haitian-American artist Sydney Buford with her mixed media collage, Through the Window

Four-year-old Jonah Aiden Kahn alongside his upcycled sculpture “Home Test” — with his parents Allison Hope and Tracy Kahn  soon after he was interviewed by Spectrum TV

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Yonkers-based self-taught interdisciplinary artist Michael Cuomo with his sketch of the lovely Atlas Torres

Located at 13-02 44th Avenue in Long Island City, The Local NY is easily accessible via the E, M, G, and 7 trains to Court Square.

Photo credits: 1-4, 6 & 8, Rachel Fawn Alban; 5 & 7 Lois Stavsky


On view through May 25, 2022 at Fountain House Gallery is “The Nude as Landscape,” the gallery’s first-ever juried exhibition. While most of the images selected for the exhibit feature bodies presented within actual natural landscapes, several portray the human body — or segments of it — “as a point of reference for exploration of the body as it relates to the wider world.” The theme of this distinctly intriguing exhibition was conceived by Fountain House Gallery artist Boo Lynn Walsh.

The image featured above, The Nude Dudes (Series #1), was fashioned with oil on canvas by neo-expressionist artist Anthony Newton. Several more images captured from our recent visit to “The Nude as Landscape” follow:

Queens-based multidisciplinary artists Issa Ibrahim and Susan Spangenberg, “Love’s Crashing Waves,” 2021, Charcoal and acrylic on canvas

The masterly Bronx-born, Manhattan-based artist Miguel Colón, “Sublimation,” 2022, Flashe on canvas

The inventive Manhattan-based artist and urban calligrapher DubbleX, “Poses of the Nude,” 2020, Paper collage and marker on canvas

Self-taught mixed media artist Angela Rogers,”Tree in a Turban,” 2018, Wire, yarn, and string beads

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Colombia-born fashion and costume designer, Guiomar Giraldo-Baron, “Solitary Bather,” 2022, Charcoal, pastel and acrylic on canvas

Juried by Sarah Faux, Elyse Goldberg and Casey Lesser, “The Nude as Landscape” remains on view through May 25 at Fountain House Gallery. Located at 702 Ninth Avenue at 48th Street, the gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday: 12pm-6pm.

Note: Fountain House Gallery and Studio provides an environment where artists living with mental illness can express their creative visions, exhibit their work, and challenge the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Photos of images: 1-4 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 5 Dani Reyes Mozeson


Studio in a School, the largest visual arts organization in NYC, fosters and celebrates the creativity of NYC youth in a range of settings from under-resourced public schools to community-based organizations. On view though Tuesday at its studio space, located at One East 53rd Street in Manhattan, is Boundless Imagination: Creativity in the Time of Covid-19 from Studio in a School NYC. Featuring 46 delightful artworks created by NYC children and teens, it showcases the achievements of its remote and hybrid learning programs during 2020 and 2021.

The drawing featured above was fashioned by first-grader Daria P. — under the instruction of NYC artist Gail Molnar. Several more images captured on my recent visit to the enchanting exhibition follow:

First-grader Hashem S., Drawing — under the instruction of Traci Talasco

Second-grader Lyle S., Digital art — under the instruction of Miguel Tio

Fourth-grader Leo G., Drawing — under the instruction of Mildor Chevalier

Eleventh-grader Shelly F., Drawing — under the instruction of Mildor Chevalier

Eleventh-grader Mary M., Collage — under the instruction of Mildor Chevalier

The spirited exhibition — a testament to creativity and resilience in a particularly challenging time — remains open to the public through Tuesday and can be viewed weekdays at Studio in a School’s gallery space from 8am – 8pm. The works on view were selected from 70 exhibited earlier at varied Montefiore Medicine’s campuses.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky


The son of the renowned poet and songwriter, Victor Bokov, Konstantin Bokov was born in 1940 in Shostka, Ukraine. Since immigrating to New York City in 1974, he has created endlessly inventive assemblages and sculptural works from found objects, along with paintings, drawings and DIY public installations. Addressing a range of subjects from the personal to the political, they provoke and delight. The subject of a 2012 award-winning documentary entitled “Free,” Konstantin Bokov has garnered ardent admiration from lovers of outsider art, urban art and contemporary art.

Exhibited concurrently with  “Van Der Plas Gallery x The Living Museum,”  a solo exhibition of Bokov’s works in a range of media is on view at Van Der Plas Gallery’s showroom on Manhattan’s Lower East Side through March 6.

The image above features the artist standing in front of several of his assemblages. Additional photos of individual works — all including elements of found objects — follow:

“American Eagle,” Oil stick and oil paint on found and repurposed objects, 2010

“Liberty,” Oil stick and oil paint on sled, 2008

“Van Gogh with Liberty,” Oil stick and oil paint on found objects, 2017

“Magpie,” Oil stick and oil paint on wood, 1998

“Anchor and Mermaid,” Oil stick and oil paint on found objects, 2009

“Cock with Clock,” Oil stick and oil paint on found objects, 2009

Also on exhibit are oil paintings and a huge range of works on paper. Located at 156 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, Van Der Plas Gallery is open daily from 12pm – 5pm.

Special thanks to Atlas Torres for capturing these images


Founded in 1983 by Dr. János Marton and the late Polish artist Bolek Greczynski, the Living Museum — housed on the grounds of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center — continues to serve as a model arts community for those living with mental illness.

Through March 6, works in a wide range of styles and media by seven Living Museum artists can be seen in a delightfully intriguing exhibition at Van Der Plas Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “Sitting Beyond” — the painting featured above — was fashioned by the West Indian figurative painter Nyla Isaac. More images from “Van Der Plas Gallery x The Living Museum” follow:

Multimedia visual artist Frank Boccio, “Untitled,” Mixed media on canvas

The award-winning multidisciplinary artist Issa Ibrahim, “At the Crossroads,” Acrylic and ink on canvas

Ronald Clark, “Untitled,” Acrylic on foam

Edwig Stinvil, “Les Paysannes,” Acrylic on canvas

Paula Brooks,“Tiger Lilles,” Acrylic on canvas

The endlessly inventive mixed-media artist John Tursi, a selection of exhibited works — two fashioned with coat hangers

Wide view featuring additional works by Nyla Isaac and Frank Boccio

Located at 156 Orchard Street, Van Der Plas Gallery is open daily from 12pm – 5pm.

Photo credits: 1-3, 5, & 6 Atlas Torres, 4 Lois Stavsky, 7 & 8  Rachel Alban


ArTech, established in 2016 by the Nonprofit AHRC New York City, provides ongoing opportunities for artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities to hone their skills and share their work in varied settings. Last year, ArTech artists across all five boroughs participated in an extended partnership with Access Programs at MoMA that culminated in How Are You? — a group exhibition featuring a diverse range of works by twenty ArTech artists.

The intriguing work featured above was fashioned with marker on paper by the prolific Staten Island-based Rayed Mohamed, a native of Yemen, who immigrated with his family to the US in 1990. Several more images on exhibit in How Are You? follow:

Bronx-based multimedia artist Cory Tyler, “Untitled,” 2021, Marker on paper

Art enthusiast Melissa Louden, “Johnny Depp,” 2021, Marker on canvas

The hugely inventive Jayson Costor, “Back in Time,” 2021, Colored pencil on paper

Puerto Rico-born, Bronx-based Jayson Valles, “Smoking Man,” 2021, Acrylic and marker on canvas

The wonderfully creative multimedia artist Thomas Gambaro, “Clay Figure Series,” 2021, Clay and aluminum foil (Small segment of a delightful array of figures exhibited in a display case)

How Are You? continues at MoMA‘s Cullman Education Center through March 31. Check here for installation views and here to reserve timed tickets.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky


Cracking Rocks, the image featured above, was fashioned with dye on tooled and carved leather in 2011 by the late self-taught Southern African-American artist Winfred Rembert. Seen earlier this year at Fort Gansevoort in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, it is one of his many paintings documenting the artist’s experiences as a survivor of senseless brutality and overt racism.

Several more images — all by largely self-taught artists — in this second of ART BreakOUTs ongoing series, Working, follow:

Also by Winfred Rembert, “The Gammages (Patty’s House),” 2005, Dye on carved and tooled leather

The late Puerto-Rican painter and printmaker Manuel Hernandez Acevedo,”El Patio de Mi Casa,” 1974, Oil on canvas — as seen in group exhibition “Popular Painters & Other Visionaries” at El Museo in East Harlem

Argentine architect and self-taught painter Maria Laura Bratoz, “The New Employee,” 2007, Acrylic on canvas — as seen in group exhibition at GINA – Gallery of International Naïve Art in Tel Aviv

The late Haitian painter Sénèque Obin, “Marché Clugny,” c. 1960’s, Oil on Masonite — as seen in group exhibition “Popular Painters & Other Visionaries” at El Museo in East Harlem

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky