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robertogreco : dukeriley   2

Duke Riley :: Artist + Patriot
"My work addresses the prospect of residual but forgotten unclaimed frontiers on the edge and inside overdeveloped urban areas, and their unsuspected autonomy. I am interested in the struggle of marginal peoples to sustain independent spaces within all-encompassing societies, the tension between individual and collective behavior, the conflict with institutional power. I pursue an alternative view of hidden borderlands and their inhabitants through drawing, printmaking, mosaic, sculpture, performative interventions, and video structured as complex multimedia installations.

I often work in the tradition of field naturalists, seeking and gathering data, artifacts, and specimens outdoors, transporting them inside for closer observation and study, displaying them in museum-like diorama settings. I combine populist myths and reinvented historical obscurities with contemporary social dilemmas, connecting past and present, drawing attention to unsolved issues. Throughout my projects I profile the space where water meets the land, traditionally marking the periphery of urban society, what lies beyond rigid moral constructs, a sense of danger and possibility."

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art  artists  brooklyn  dukeriley  outdoors  frontiers  borders  urban  autonomy  margins  macollectivebehavior  borderlands 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Avian Artistry, With Smuggled Cigars -
"Pablo Escobar was loose. He darted across a noisy warehouse, searching for a corner to loom in.

He’s “kind of a bully,” said Duke Riley, the Brooklyn artist who trained him, watching Pablo flit around before landing on a ledge near the ceiling. Pablo Escobar is a homing pigeon, and an accessory — or an accomplice — to the latest exhibition by Mr. Riley, whose work often flouts both laws and common sense.

“Generally, I do things that don’t really seem that feasible,” Mr. Riley explained, “and then they tend to work out.”

But even by his standards, the pigeon project, “Trading With the Enemy,” strained credulity. In utmost secret, Mr. Riley trained a flock of homing pigeons to fly one way from Havana to Key West, Fla. Half the birds were flat-out smugglers, running Cuban cigars to the United States. The others were documentarians, outfitted with special cameras to record their 100-mile journey across the Straits of Florida.

The idea was to highlight the long history of pirating on the southern border, and also to thumb a nose, artistically, at the cutting-edge spy devices that may monitor the coast. Drones don’t care about pigeons.

“I wanted to subvert this billions-of-dollars high-tech system with things that were being used in ancient Sumeria,” said Mr. Riley, who researched pigeon history. In the early 20th century, they were regular messengers between coastal authorities in Cuba and Florida. “They would let a pigeon go,” he said, to signify safe arrival.

With objects and video — and live birds — “Trading” is part of his solo show, “See You at the Finish Line,” opening at the Magnan Metz Gallery on Nov. 1. He’s been promoting it by wheat-pasting posters around town.

In his artist statement, Mr. Riley, 41, calls himself a patriot, and he often sets his work on the waterfront, exploring the boundaries of institutions and authorities. In 2007, he was arrested after he floated a homemade replica of a Revolutionary War-era submarine too close to the Queen Mary II. (“Despite the fact that they were pointing machine guns at me in the pictures,” he said of the New York harbor police, “they were actually very nice.”) A 2009 performance in a reflecting pool in Queens, a staged naval battle, ended in a drunken, fiery melee."
animals  pigeons  dukeriley  art  borders  cuba  cigars  2013  birds  smuggling 
october 2013 by robertogreco

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