DARLA VILLANI / A Space For Ideas

What I have written—and how I came to write it—is most powerfully what I am.


 Hortense Calisher



(Source: theparisreview)

“Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.”

- John Cage

image: John Cage, 49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs


Track: Crescent Beach, Maine
Artist / Band: Atlantic Ocean & My Iphone

Listen. All For you.

Six minutes of ocean, sky, waves and time.



Buddahs in Brooklyn.
These large scale portraits lined Layfayette Avenue in Fort Greene. (adjacent to the Brooklyn Flea Market) Painted by Jeffrey Reid.


Step into a day in the life of Meredith Monk…

"The composer, singer, director, choreographer, Buddhist practitioner and inveterate boundary pusher, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her career this fall with performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Carnegie Hall." Read on.



For all of us, lost and found.

image: Yoko Ono



The School Of Echoes.

by darla villani
(for web view click right arrow to scroll images)

The Domino Sugar Factory sat into the edge of Williamsburg’s waterfront like a man on death row.
It was built by the Havemeyer family in 1856, and by 1870 it was refining more than half of the sugar consumed in the United States, producing over 1,200 tons a day, ships delivered tons of cane sugar from all over the world to its Brooklyn port.
Look at it now, sitting high above the East River, it’s own abandoned civilization - now repurposed to collaborate with Kara Walker.

The work is entitled;
"Kara Walker - A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant"

What are the echoes of a monument erected, what are the echoes of a monument destroyed?
These were some of the frequencies that snaked between feet, that pulled and crashed history through the cavernous stadium interior, through memory, through bodies. These force fields initiated constant perceptual shifts to the matrix of histories initiated by Walker, the factory, countless ghosts and thousands of visitors that engaged in the event.

A mass work of metaphysical and subconscious choreography, it’s vivid flux kept the role of my participation and perception in flurries of reconfiguration.
The factory and Walker engineered a work that kept recasting space, place, testimony and witness.

In some pockets the atmosphere was rendered disturbingly “Disney” by visitors, in others it was a cathedral, aesthetic acquisition, a holy field, iPhone porn.
Could have been a check point for the gates of heaven, a holding tank for hell, the (un)promised land. White sugar becomes a mirror.  

It’s known that the walls, floors and these sculptures have a very short shelf life here. There’s the shimmer of a funeral, there is an urgency to consume the space, to catalogue each visible thing. All is soon to be demolished, another re-enacted violence, another acquisition for the real estate revolution of Brooklyn. The workers, the workers, the workers. But, for now the space swells in preparation, gains speed and power.

The penetration of sugar or the revenge of sugar?
You breathed it in, it got into your skin. It was the Ash Wednesday of sugar and all visitors were marked.
The factory exhales a century of tainted sugar - you move through it - by the time you leave it’s written on the inside of the body.
Memory and subconscious are highlighted with the neon of - the trafficking, the trade, the murders.
The walls of the factory bled a dark raisin molasses, one hundred years of sugar.
The workers, the workers, the workers.

Look at her. In white.
She is a vessel, a teleport, a warning, The Intrepid. A visitation from the future. She is too vast for language.
The sugar boys - gentle, fierce, her loyal gatekeepers. They scan each visitor, gather data, demonstrate silent confrontations and deliver blessings.
You could feel it, you watched it happen.

Plantation labor - Industrial labor. The labor of women and of children.
Stories pressed out of the walls of the factory, there was silent testimony everywhere. There were things to learn everywhere.
Eyes dart up, and a crowd is corralling her. Looked like a still from King Kong that switched to Mary Shelley and I feel nauseous that I’m taking pictures, that I’m participating in this reacquisition. I exile myself and sit on the sidelines and try to follow this massive equation spinning and rolling in all directions.

The workers, the workers, the workers.

Notes on images:
I still feel ambivalent about posting these images. Perhaps this piece is now casting me as a perpetuator of false claims to authorship attached to the idea that these images are “mine”. The experience has evoked major reflection of the machine of acquisition and the repurposing of others suffering as aesthetic fodder.

"Kara Walker - A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant" is now closed.
More about the project - read on, watch.

The Domino Sugar Factory is being demolished for a 35 story waterfront luxury property.
Read on: Remembering the workers of the Domino Sugar Factory


"Crown Publishing, a division Penguin Random House, has a new program to make it easier for online book reviewers to get their hands on the company’s latest releases. Blogging for Books allows reviewers to register and receive complimentary copies of Crown Publishing titles in exchange for their honest review. The site currently has over two million books in its collection.The program is open to reviewers who have an active blog, as well as to librarians, booksellers and media outlets.”

Read on.



Giorgio Morandi, my favorite metaphysical painter. 


Wave Hill’s Visual Arts Program presents the work of contemporary artists who explore the dynamic relationship between nature, culture and site through exhibitions in Glyndor Gallery and the Sunroom Project Space, and through the Winter Workspace Program and generated@wavehill. 

Wave Hill administers two Visual Artist Fellowships on behalf of the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust. This one-year fellowship is open to New York City-based artists, who are 30 years of age or younger and are not currently enrolled in a degree-granting program. The fellowship provides emerging artists from culturally diverse backgrounds and underserved communities valuable mentorship and exhibition opportunities, including learning from the curatorial staff about the creation and interpretation of exhibitions and arts programming and working with artists and arts professionals to define career paths over the course of the program (January–December 2015). 




Performance Internship Opportunity


Artist Programming/Development Internship at BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange

BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is seeking a motivated, intelligent, good-humored and organized individual to join the Artist Services and Development departments.

This is a unique opportunity to work behind the scenes in a thriving non-profit arts organization and receive valuable hands-on experience in programming and fundraising. Intern will work closely with both the Executive/Artistic Director and Development Associate as well as other key personnel. 

Email artistservices@bax.org for complete description and qualifications.



Werner Herzog in Conversation 

"If I had to climb into hell and wrestle the devil himself for one of my films, I would do it."

—Werner Herzog

Be excited. Be very, very excited.
Thursday, Sep 4, 2014 @ 8:00 pm
Peter Jay Sharp Building / BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
RUN TIME: Approx 90min
TICKETS START AT  $25 / Read on.



Incredible Tiny Books By The Brontës 

Inside the life of these teeny books, Charlotte and Branwell Brontë create fantasy worlds and big adventure.

"In 1829-30, Charlotte Brontë was 13 and her brother Branwell Brontë 12. Creating fantasy worlds they called Angria and Glass Town, the siblings made teeny tiny books. 

Measuring less than 1 inch by 2 inches, the books were made from scraps of paper and constructed by hand.”

Read on.


Nine Literary Magazines for New and Unpublished Writers

"Seeing your work in print for the first time is a unique thrill. But it can feel like a daunting task to submit your writing to a magazine or journal when you nobody other than friends and family has ever read it. To make the process somewhat less scary, here are 9 literary magazines that welcome submissions from new and never before published writers."

 Read on.


Bjork Retrospective at MOMA. 

Corporate Art.

by darla villani

I’ve been a fan of Bjork since The Sugar Cubes and if you have too, you’ll agree that her artistry and talent is truly vast and unmatched in her field. Bjork’s body of work is rich and poetic and undoubtedly and undeniably her own voice. 

The Museum of Modern Art announced that it will present a full-scale retrospective dedicated to the artist Björk in 2015. (press release)

Still basking in the success of Marina Abramovic’s "The Artist is Present," MOMA is resetting their lens on generating another smash show, this time sponsored by Volkswagon. 

There is also a major expansion on the horizon. Despite rigorous protest from the architectural world, MOMA is tearing down The American Folk Museum to expand their facilities.

Is there a major corporation that would fully embrace and stand behind Kara Walker's sublime work?

On the heels of her incredible installation, “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant,” …a retrospective, an opportunity for context, an opportunity to learn more about the power and message of her work would be at base, extraordinary.

Almighty dollar.

Go See; Walker’s installation at The Domino Sugar Factory (thru July 6)

Read: Walker’s interview with The Brooklyn Rail.