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Happy Place: New Work by Joseph Grazi

Halloween may be (almost) over but its ghoulish spirit lives on in Joseph Grazi’s new solo exhibition, Happy Place. Comprised of flowers, marbles and taxidermied animal parts, these soft organic sculptures are contemplating the ultimate and the inevitable: death. Joseph Grazi’s Happy Place is a celebration of death’s certainty and innate beauty. Hosted by Art Now NY, the exhibit opens on November 7 but if you can’t wait until then – check out the preview party November 6 at 6pm.


Art Now NY is pleased to announce Happy Place, a solo exhibition of new work by New York based artist Joseph Grazi. This is the first exhibition of Grazi’s work at Art Now NY. Happy Place opens Thursday, November 7, 2013 with an artist’s reception from 6 to 9pm. The exhibition will be on view November 7 ­- November 30, 2013 at Art Now NY, located at 548 W 28th Street in New York City.

Anxiety about death comes from its conceptual impracticality, as the state is simultaneously final and infinite. This subconscious irreconcilability manifests as a revulsion of physical decay. Grazi manifests those fears in his mediums: bones and bat wings. Contrasted with perfect red marbles and living roses held in vitrines, the organic material is magnificent, and undeniably communal. Happy Place is a celebration of death’s certainty and native beauty.

When confronted with death, the mental path most often taken is a slip into a dissociative Happy Place. Grazi’s sculptures and altars prosthelytize an alternative; bat’s stacked wings, and cat’s skeletons are arranged in the familiar shapes of a heart symbol and Sphinx­pose. Fanged monkey skulls are raised over live roses. Inside slick Plexiglass vessels, the organic sculptures have a soft warmth, and, despite that they are dying or dead, their materials activate feelings of love and lightness. These positive associations contest the primal fear of death, and the unnatural fight against it. Grazi shows the particular irregularity of natural lines and decay represent an aesthetic worthy of reverence.

The themes of Happy Place are an elaboration on Joseph Grazi’s previous works, including 2012’s ‘Fountain of Youth,’ made of colored marbles and plastic toy balls, and 2011’s ‘Legends,’ sculpted with bat wings. The elements of his compositions vacillate between sarcastic estrangement from the world’s endlessly repeating component parts, to holism­­and are always antithetical to the seemingly literal message of the artwork’s sum. Everything is true in this inter­work inconsistency, as it is in the viewer’s existence: on a micro and celestial level, all biologic and man­made things are essentially the same; the middle is a grey area of vast individuation. The shock of Grazi’s work gives way to winged optimism in an uncomfortable mental space.


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