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Painting titled Fake Smile by Erika Ranee from 2024

Erika Ranee, "Fake Smile," 2024. Acrylic, shellac, spray paint and paper collage on canvas; 84 x 72 in (213.4 x 182.9 cm)

Painting titled Group Grope Dream #1 by Carlos Villa from 1982-1986

Carlos Villa, "Group Grope Dream #1," 1982-86. Acrylic, bone, and fabric on canvas stretched over wood; 17 1/4 x 13 3/4 in (43.8 x 34.9 cm). 

Untitled sculpture by Alice Mackler from 2013

Alice Mackler, "Untitled," 2013. Clay and glaze. 

Press Release

Celestial Songs
Curated by Adrianne Rubenstein
June 20th - July 26th, 2024
Opening: June 20th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Venus Over Manhattan
55 Great Jones Street
New York, NY 10012

(New York, NY) – Venus Over Manhattan is pleased to present Celestial Songs, a group exhibition curated by artist Adrianne Rubenstein. Organized in conversation with a simultaneous exhibition of work by Maija Peeples-Bright and Roy De Forest, Celestial Songs comprises both historical and contemporary works by artists whose visual and thematic interests recall aspects of the Funk Art movement of the 1960s. The show comprises 25 different artists, and includes drawings, collage, paintings, fiber works, sculptures, and various other mixed media. Celestial Songs will be on view at 55 Great Jones street from June 20 to July 26, 2024.

Celestial Songs traces a vibrant journey through the enduring legacy of California funk. It details an expansive and autobiographical history rooted in the Bay Area in the 70s, whose influence reverberates back and forth across the country to this day. Funk art was defined as a reaction against the nonobjectivity of abstract expressionism, and instead prioritized free-spirited and humorous creativity. It championed all types of media, with a strong presence of ceramic and mixed-media work. Many artists associated with this style in the 70s participated in exhibitions at Adeliza McHugh’s Candy Store Gallery, a site of convergence and exchange for the movement. The Candy Store gallery became a home for free-wheeling aesthetics and jubilant irreverance, and created space for like-minded community. The impact and precendent of the Candy Store Gallery rings through the work in Rubenstein’s curation.

Emma Soucek, who is based in Berkeley, CA, creates abstract paintings using colorful paper pulp; her work puts a new spin on the immediate geometry within Roy and Maija’s works. Nik Gelormino has sculpted two very satisfying heart shaped stools out of Redwood from the California forests. Carlos Villa (1936 - 2013), a beloved professor whom Rubenstein studied with at the Art Institute from 2009–2011, is represented with a characteristic mixed-media painting that features a small fragment of bone.

Erika Ranee, a New York based abstract painter uses spills and collage to create tangled mazes reminiscent of natural patterns. Meg Lipke’s shapes and symbols fade in and out of pastel color fields; and Alice Mackler (1931–2024), included with two ceramic sculptures from 2013, brings raw figuration. In a continuum of time, these artists working in different eras can all be said to have influenced one another. The narrative drawn from among their works is both original and deeply integral to the indescribable mysticism of making art.

Featured artists include: Betty Bailey, Taussen Brewer, Joan Brown, Maija Peeples-Bright, Roy De Forest, Faith, Melvino Garreti, Nik Gelormino, Pam Glick, Gretta Johnson, Grant Levy-Lucero, Meg Lipke, Alice Mackler, Dan Mandelbaum, Walter Price, Erika Ranee, Margo Newmark Rosenbaum, Adrianne Rubenstein, Peter Saul, Sally Saul, Daisy Mae Sheff, Emma Soucek, Marisa Takal, Carlos Villa, and Rachel Eulena Williams.

For additional information, please contact the gallery at

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