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Conor Backman

This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Anxiety on High

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on January 16, 2017
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Let’s face it—the bulk of this week’s chatter in the art world isn’t going to be about Donald Trump’s Inauguration, but Marilyn Minter and Madonna’s talk Thursday evening at the Brooklyn Museum lamenting it. And that’s as it should be. Resistance to this new presidency is essential.
Friday, we’ll be participating in the #J20 Art Strike, so no content on our website will be available but for a livestream of Rachel Mason lip synching the inauguration as FutureClown. Those seeking to participate in the art protests can head to the Whitney where Occupy Museums will be hosting a “Speak Out”.

Other than that, we’re recommending a show about soul crushing anxiety and despair at LUBOV, and a show called “Infected Foot” at Greene Naftali, because sickness also seems like an appropriate theme for the week. Sorry to be depressing. Unfortunately, there’s no other honest way to paint the events.

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This Week’s Must See Art Events: Dad Art, Cigarettes, and Graveyards

by Michael Anthony Farley and Rea McNamara on May 10, 2016
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Thankfully, the next few days aren’t as stressfully-packed with events as Frieze Week was. But we’ve picked out a handful of options if you’re still hankering to see some art. Tuesday night, Matt Bolinger’s solo show opens at Zurcher Gallery, featuring cinematic paintings of Middle-American life. Wednesday, rising art-star Kour Pour opens a new exhibition at Feuer/Mesler that looks to be a new direction for the painter. Thursday is a big night for fans of drawing: David Nolan Gallery has a Jorinde Voigt show and The Drawing Center is offering a Josef Albers-inspired workshop.

The weekend is when things get weirder. Christopher K. Ho’s solo exhibition at Present Company looks at aging, “art dads”, religion, and more Friday night. At the same time, Invisible Exports is opening Frida Smoked, a group show about women artists and their cigarettes. Saturday, Rhizome’s annual Seven on Seven conference will present collaborations between tech insiders and artists and Underdonk will open an ambitious group show of tiny sculptures from dozens of artists. Borna Sammak’s solo show also opens at American Medium that night. But Sunday sounds like it will be the most fun—Hyperalleric has organized a walking tour of artist’s graves in Green-Wood cemetery, so go enjoy the partially-sunny outdoors after a rainy weekend.

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This Week’s Must-see Art Events: Waacking, Eating, Tweeting, Painting

by Michael Anthony Farley and Rea McNamara on August 10, 2015
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This week, work up a sweat learning the art of “waacking” at Otion Front Studio from dancer Coco Motion. Then, reward yourself with dinner and a movie at Postmasters Gallery. Are you the kind of person who Instagrams your food? If so, you might learn a little something about social media and our capacity for connection from AFC friend Molly Soda. Her show SAME opens Thursday night at Stream.

But really, the weekend is all about painting, painting, painting. It kicks off Friday night with paintings on cardboard and paintings of plastic at Trestle Gallery. From a Conor Backman solo show upstate to an all-painting exhibition of 50 artists in Bed-Stuy, there’s painting everywhere on Saturday. There’s so much paint happening, cans of it are starting to bulge out of canvases.

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We Went to Baltimore: You Should Too (Part One)

by Paddy Johnson Whitney Kimball and Michael Farley on April 12, 2013
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The New York art world may run on cash and glitz, but emerging artists usually don’t. So we’ve been looking around lately to see what it’s like where the money never was to begin with. This week, we went to Baltimore, where the people are still weird, the space is still cheap, the work is still exciting. Let me tell you, the grass is a whole lot greener. May New York never figure that out.

In part one, we visit NUDASHANK’s Conor Backman show, Gallery Four’s Lisa Dillin exhibition, and Sophia Jacob’s Harrison Tyler gallery take-over with writer, artist, curator, and hands-down, best-ever Baltimore tour guide, Michael Farley.

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(e)merge and The Washington/Baltimore Divide

by Paddy Johnson on October 5, 2012
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“This fair isn’t about making money” (e)merge art fair co-owner Helen Allen told me last night. According to Allen, it’s more about building community, a point evident in the attendees. Walking through the halls of the Capital Skyline Hotel in Washington took several hours last night, as everyone seemed to know everyone. (e)merge is the definition of a community-based fair.

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Tuesday at Mixed Greens by Mr. and Mrs. Amani Olu

by Art Fag City on January 13, 2011
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Tuesday – Curated by Mr. and Mrs. Amani Olu Date: THURSDAY, JANUARY 13TH 2011 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH 2011 Venue: Mixed Greens, 531 West 26th Street Mixed Greens offers a show, curated by Amani Olu of Humble Arts Foundation fame, focusing on the everyday in art. Included are works by AFC favorite Conor Backman – whose edited beer boxes featured […]

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In Our Masthead: Conor Backman

by Paddy Johnson on May 27, 2010

art fag city, conor backman
Conor Backman, Cold as the Rockies After the Adventure, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 8 x 10 x 5 inches, 2009

Offering a different take on work like Toni Matelli’s bronze beer cans, Conor Backman makes trompe l’oile landscape paintings from used beer boxes. He removes all non-landscape imagery and text from the source material, stretches canvas over the surface and hangs the completed boxes on the wall. The work can be read as a commentary on the commodification of art, though mixing the high and low is at this point well charted territory. More interesting is the artist’s sincere interest in the tradition of landscape painting and Bob Ross. The great public access star would be proud.


Conor Backman lives and works in Richmond VA. Backman is also co-owner of REFERENCE Art Gallery, a newly formed artist-run space in downtown Richmond that focuses on exhibiting young emerging artists from around the world that are working in new media.

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