Dante in New York

Brooklyn, NY, July 26, 2017 – Studio 153 / Coffey Street is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by George Cochrane entitled Hades High. The exhibition locates Dante Alighieri’s poetical work firmly in today’s world, connecting our present-day reality to the poet’s timeless observations on human behavior. This is the inaugural exhibition at Coffey Street and is on view October 8 through November 5, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, October 8, 4-8pm.

The exhibition takes its title from the seventh, most recent chapter of Cochrane’s graphic novel currently in progress, Long Time Gone. The autobiographical work, created in collaboration with the artist’s daughter Fiamma, and modeled on Homer’s Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses, tells the story of a single day in Brooklyn. The novel unfolds across twenty-four chapters, mirroring the Odyssey’s twenty-four books, and jumps between George and Fiamma’s day. In Hades High, George encounters Dante as he guides him though a re-visitation of high school, forcing Cochrane to confront a troubled past while revealing his own artistic origin story.
In large-scale paintings and drawings, Cochrane depicts Dante as a character in our world today, placing him in and around New York City at art fairs, rallies, and in banal scenarios, such as waiting for a bus or standing by the Gowanus Canal. Cochrane’s expressionistic brushwork and non-local color dematerialize the painted forms of the figure and his environments, intermingling both figure and ground, as well as the historical and the contemporary. The drawings, made since Trump took office, show Dante lurking at an anti-Trump rally, trolling Trump Tower, or observing Trump being devoured by Satan in the ninth circle of Hell. Drawn in silverpoint, ink, and colored pencil, Cochrane’s artist books explore these themes in a more intimate format. 
Responding to Cochrane’s Hades High, publisher Luke Ives Pontifell of Thornwillow Press invited Cochrane to make a new illuminated manuscript of the Divine Comedy to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the poet’s birth in 2015. Studio 153 presents original artwork from the first volume, Inferno, with copies of the newly published book. In creating his contemporary illuminated manuscript, the artist uses hand lettered comic font and comic book visual tropes to invigorate the artistic and illustrative history of the Commedia.
Studio 153’s exhibition will be the first New York presentation of Long Time Gone, which debuted at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, and was subsequently exhibited at the Tweed Museum in Duluth, Minnesota. Hades High is the inaugural exhibition for Coffey Street, a new space for contemporary art and performance in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
In conjunction with George Cochrane: Hades HighStudio 153 will present a series of curated programming on topics ranging from comic books and the history of art and protest, to problems of translation and textural transmission in the manuscript tradition.

For more information please contact:

Michael Sharkey

About Studio 153 & Coffey Street:

STUDIO 153 is an artist-led venture, dedicated to the exploration of new work. The creative team specializes in theater, photography, visual art, and film. The curated program will maintain individual disciplines, but engage in a deeper investigation of art making through a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach.

The studio was co-founded in 2016 by theatrical designer Andromache Chalfant and longtime friend and frequent collaborator, M. Sharkey, a photographer and filmmaker. The studio is located in a 13k square foot warehouse on Coffey Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn.