And Pause
August 23rd, 2014 by Lex

The mission of this site — discovery of aesthetics in every day life, and the pursuit of art and critical thinking — continues to be a deep passion of mine. But sometimes life has a way of pulling you into unexpected waters, away from the shores of things familiar. For now, at least, this iteration of Urban Aesthete is retired. The site will remain as a catalog of work done and explorations ventured between 2008 and 2011.

For those interested in the latest, and continuing the conversation, here are ongoing projects in which I am involved:


Events: Exhibition and Panel.
September 3rd, 2009 by Lex

Alexey’s abstract sequential art from the anthology is featured at the James Gallery (reviewed here). There will also be a panel discussion on September 12 at MoCCA at 4PM. More information below:

Press Release

Silent Pictures, running from September 1 through October 11 in the James Gallery, will focus on aspects of comic book structure and syntax that do not depend on words to advance an image sequence. The exhibition is inspired by artist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Art Spiegelman’s personal collection of wordless comics and graphic novels — mostly black and white rare artist books from the 1930s. The show will feature a selection of these books, as well as more recent “abstract comics,” and a related film program — all of which investigate essential qualities and aesthetics of this hugely popular medium.

The James Gallery is located off the lobby of the Graduate Center at 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th & 35th Streets). Hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 12–8 pm, and 12–6 pm on Saturdays & Sundays. Admission is free; for more information call 212-817-7138 or visit http://www.gc.cuny.edu/events/art_gallery.htm An opening reception for Silent Pictures will be held on Thursday, September 10, 6-8 pm.

The abstract comics, compiled by art historian and artist Andrei Molotiu for a just released anthology, Abstract Comics (Fantagraphics Books, 2009), call attention to the formal mechanisms that underlie all comics. Where the earlier art collected by Spiegelman retains a narrative, often politically charged thrust, the comics gathered by Molotiu emphasize the dynamic graphics that lead the eye and mind from panel to panel, suggesting that these structural elements are fundamental to the emotional register of the medium.

The exhibition will also feature a specially commissioned wall drawing by Renee French, a hand-drawn animated film by the British artist team Rachel Cattle and Steve Richards, and a new collaborative project for the Graduate Center’s Fifth Avenue lobby display windows by Gail Fitzgerald and Carl Ostendarp.

In addition, Columbia University art historian and film scholar Noam Elcott will curate a related film program titled “Comic-Film-Strip.” To be installed in a small gallery-within-the-gallery, this program will feature mostly wordless, animated historic films, in which the frame-by-frame narrative parallels developments in the wordless comics that also emerged during the first half of the 20th century. “Comic-Film-Strip” will include selections of films by Emile Cohl, Walter Ruttmann, Norman McLaren, and Robert Breer, as well as a very early partially animated film by William Kentridge. Elcott will elaborate on “Comic-Film-Strip” in a public conversation to be held September 25, 6-7:30 pm in the Graduate Center’s Skylight Lounge.

Call for Submissions.
June 25th, 2009 by Lex

Urban Aesthete is looking for artists, writers, musicians and multi-media experimenters to add to its vocabulary and presentation. If you (or someone you know) are interested and resonate with our vision of urbanism, avant-garde and modernity, please send examples of your work.

Similarly, we are happy to develop link relationships with specific artist sites, portals along conceptual lines, and other interested organizations.

The Meaning Of.
February 9th, 2009 by Lex

An amazing passage from Salon’s Cary Tennis shone through the other day. Prompted by a writer’s fear of irrelevance, Tennis crafts a message worth passing on. As artists, we struggle constantly with questions of purpose. The meaning of life is not enough–we need the meaning of process. The meaning of urges and desires that must be pursued and fulfilled. We definitionally grapple with the irrational, left brain demanding its spotlight. Why?  

Will what we say here ever really be unearthed and used? Will there be a need for it? Are we just playing out the old fantasy of immortality, dreaming that our words will live on? And, as you say, does it matter?

I do not know, but you and I and all the rest of us go on dreaming, trying to see the order in chaos, to glimpse the perfection at the edge of madness, look for the souls of trees and hear the voices of clouds and see in each occluded heart some echo of divinity. I know that we keep on talking and writing and it goes somewhere. Perhaps in that universe that even now is spinning backward from our own, our words are coming back out of the spring air and into our mouths and back into our brains where they will lie dormant, as if never spoken, until the pre-universe universe contracts sufficiently to cause another Big Bang, and it will start all over again, and after millions of years fish will climb the rocks and grow lungs again and apes will pick up tools and invent language all over again, and again as they speak and speak they will begin to wonder, Will this ever be heard again? Will future generations benefit from all our thoughts and visions? Does any of this really matter? And again the apes will go to psychiatrists and lie on couches and fill the air with doubt and uncertainty.

So it goes. Our uncertainty and doubt extend to the infinite sky and throughout time, shrouding perfection, blurring truth, undermining what feeble faith we can muster, reminding us that we are both divine and mortal, that we live both inside time and outside time, that we are creatures of many worlds, and that we will always wonder, and always try to cheat death, and always listen for the echoes of our words in every strange town, on every strange mountain, in every strange dream that comes to us in the night.

Exhibition at Gallery Bar.
November 11th, 2008 by Lex

If you are in New York city this Friday (11/14), you can catch Alexey Sokolin’s art at Gallery Bar, through an event hosted by Smarter Green Cleaner. Also showcasing his work is Jeffrey Augustine Songco. Details below, click on image for full-size:

Come out for one night to support the start of our new non-profit organization, Smarter Greener Cleaner! As young professionals, our mission is to better the environment by promoting simple solutions in New York City. Please check out our website at www.sgcnyc.org

This major fundraising event will help us build awareness and begin accomplishing our mission.

We will also be featuring artwork from one of our talented founding members, Jeff Songco, along with the accomplished artist Alexey Sokolin.

Doors Open at 8:30 PM
Open Bar is from 9 PM to 10 PM
Cocktail Attire

Come as a pre-game event or stay and party with us at Gallery Bar!

To get on the list and guarantee entry, please RSVP by emailing smartergreenercleaner@gmail.com. A simple email including your name will work! We are capping the list at 150 attendees so be sure to RSVP!

Tickets: $20 for those who RSVP or $25 at the door

June 1st, 2008 by Lex

For the unintended hiatus. We should be back up and in operation within a week. Thanks for checking back.

Technical Details.
May 5th, 2008 by Lex

We’ve run into some short-term technical issues, so I will be pulling in “best of” from SokolinDesign.com photography. The black border is the give-away; apologies for the disconnect.

I also want to officially welcome Seamus as the sound guru to this website. His music strongly resonates with the ideas of pause and contemplation that Urban Aesthete sees as the key to appreciating our busy world. In the longer term, we will be working on combining abstract sound and image to find new meanings.