September 24, 2019, 6:30–8pm

Artists at Work: Walter Scott and Borjana Ventzislavova

Walter Scott will stage a live performance of his video-work in progress The Pathos of Mandy. As a desperate and hubristic male artist, Mandy struggles with his identity after losing the legal rights to a fictional character he created. Featuring live performers and images, the performance and subsequent discussion will serve as the audio for the final video work.

Borjana Ventzislavova will present excerpts from her latest projects—the film and photo-work And the sky clears up (MAGIC RESISTANCE) from 2018 and the five-channel video installation Real Games from 2019. Both deal with politics, games, rituals and specters and act as a plea for conjuring resistance to the current right-wing populism in the Western Hemisphere.

This program is supported, in part, by BKA – Bundeskanzleramt Österreich Kunst und Kultur / Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria; Canada Council for the Arts; Hartfield Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).


Participating Residents

September 17, 2019–January 3, 2020

Sonia Leimer: Via San Gennaro

Sonia Leimer: Via San Gennaro is the first solo exhibition in New York by ISCP resident Sonia Leimer, and is co-curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions, ISCP and Luigi Fassi, Artistic Director, MAN_Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro in Italy. An extended version of the show will travel to MAN in Fall 2020.

Sonia Leimer: Via San Gennaro is winner of the 4th edition of Italian Council (2018), a competition conceived by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries (DGAAP) – a department of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, to promote Italian contemporary art in the world.

The newly-commissioned works in the exhibition address the spatial politics of the Manhattan neighborhood known as Little Italy, vis-à-vis migration and economic and cultural transformation. Composed of several parts including a large-scale sculptural work and video installation, the exhibition continues Leimer’s long-standing interest in urban space, architecture, labor and globalization.

The video component is a collaboration with filmmaker and puppeteer Tony de Nonno, who keeps the fading Sicilian Opera dei Pupi (Opera of the Puppets) tradition alive with his heroic medieval knight marionette named “Orlando Furioso.” As the protagonist of Leimer’s video, the puppet’s performance connects stories and histories from Little Italy. In one scene, Orlando embarks into the 3D future of the neighborhood through fictitious architectural landscapes, designed in collaboration with architect Alessandra Cianchetta and her Cooper Union students. The video also includes historical footage from It’s One Family: Knock on Wood, a documentary made by de Nonno in 1982, which depicts the Manteo Family—whom he inherited his puppet from—a much-revered American troupe who performed the Opera dei Pupi throughout most of the twentieth century in Little Italy.

The exhibition space is sheltered by two 10-foot long wall-hung sculptures made of overlapping fabric awnings, which reference the impact of gentrification and changing demographics on the shrinking “boundaries” of Little Italy. Once the center of Italian immigration in the United States, only 7% of current neighborhood residents have Italian ancestry [1]. A second series of sculptures—formed from 500-pound rolls of paper typically used and left on the street in Chinatown by digital print shops—are silkscreened with photographs taken by Leimer of Little Italy and Chinatown. Some of these images are of extant shops, while others depict businesses that have already shuttered their doors. They are all traces of Leimer’s in-depth research on the neighborhood, and evoke both the transient and permanent signs and symbols that make up the area’s character in times of late capitalism.

A fully illustrated publication in English and Italian will accompany the exhibition and will be released in December 2019. Published by Mousse Publishing and designed by Other Means, it will include essays by Alessandra Cianchetta, Kari Conte and Luigi Fassi.

Sonia Leimer (born Meran, Italy) lives and works in Vienna. She studied architecture at the Technical University of Vienna and at the Academy of Fine Art Vienna. She has exhibited her work internationally at artothek, Cologne; Barbara Gross Galerie, Munich; Basis Frankfurt; BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna; Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kunsthaus Zürich; Leopold Museum, Vienna; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen; MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles; Manifesta 7, Rovereto; Mumok – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna; Museion – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bozen, Italy; Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Salzburger Kunstverein; and 5th Moscow Bienniale.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by Italian Council (Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries, Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities); BKA – Bundeskanzleramt Österreich Kunst und Kultur; Galerie Nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder; Hartfield Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and Austrian Cultural Forum New York: ACFNY.

[1] Deepti Hajela (2015, April 5). “Little Italy: Rising rents threaten the last of New York’s traditional community,” Independent. Retrieved from

Opening Reception: Sep 17, 2019, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12–9pm
Download Press Release (PDF)

Participating Residents

September 3, 2019, 6:30–8pm

New Jerusalem: Objections, a performance intervention by Hakim Bishara, Tali Keren and Lana Tatour

This event centers on the video work, New Jerusalem, created by Israeli artist Tali Keren and currently featured in the ISCP exhibition, Paperwork: Administrative Practice in Contemporary Art. Keren, speaking via Skype, will be joined by Palestinian writer and artist Hakim Bishara and Palestinian scholar Dr. Lana Tatour who will respond, resist, and speak about the systems of power addressed in New Jerusalem, and in particular about the way these systems impact the lives of Palestinians.

New Jerusalem was both a musical performance and subsequent video installation. The performance took place in Jerusalem’s City Hall, during the City Council Assembly in 2015. The work examines Jerusalem’s twenty-first century municipal plan which was never legally validated, yet serves as binding policy. Keren commissioned a cantor to sing ideologically-charged clauses of the plan, focussing on the occupied Palestinian Territories known as East Jerusalem. These territories, which Palestinians consider to be their capital, were annexed by Israel in 1967. While this discussion is geo-specific, it resonates with the spread of nationalism and ethno-supremacy across the globe.

Hakim Bishara is a writer, artist, and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a staff writer at the online art magazine Hyperallergic and co-director of Soloway Gallery in Brooklyn.

Tali Keren is a media artist whose work investigates the formation of ideology, violence, and political identity. Keren has exhibited work at Eyebeam, New York City; Goethe-Institut New York; and Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, among others. Keren was a resident at ISCP in 2019.

Lana Tatour is a scholar whose research focuses on indigenous resistance to settler colonialism. She is the recipient of the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Postdoctoral Award, given by the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. She completed a Ph.D. in Politics at the University of Warwick in 2017.

This program is supported, in part, by Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; Greenwich Collection Ltd.; Hartfield Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.


Participating Residents