Failure to Measure Up by Nye Ffarrabas

"Failure to Measure Up" (2009)

Flux Valentine by Nye Ffarrabas

This "Flux Valentine" says BE MINE in press-type.

Nye Ffarrabas: A Walk on the Inside

Uber_alleS neon sign by Nye Ffarrabas

"Neo/N (Uber alleS)" sign with yellow U and S, and other letters in flashing blue light

"Am I an 'artist'? Or a 'writer'? (Or what?) The answer is, 'Definitely.' I work with what I find around me, either objects or words, and I go from there. It's a way of engaging with the world in an experimental, questing manner, much as a baby puts everything in her mouth to find out what it is." Nye Ffarrabas, as usual, has fun with explaining what she has been doing, starting from her pioneering work of the 1960s and '70s to her ongoing fusion of art and poetry.

C. X. Silver Gallery (814 Western Ave., Brattleboro, Vermont) presents "Nye Ffarrabas: A Walk on the Inside," a 50-year retrospective of Ffarrabas's work, from Friday, May 2, through Saturday, August 23, 2014. The accompanying publication is a combination of exhibition catalogue, memoir, and selected works, a tribute to an artist and poet whose creative works span more than a half-century from the heyday of the Fluxus scene in New York City in the '60s and '70s to the present day. The opening reception and book launch is on Sunday, May 4, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Gallery. There may be some improvised group pieces enacted during Sunday's event.

Nye's work comprises writing, the visual arts, performances, and readings. Her work, like that of fellow Fluxus artists of the 1960s and '70s, transcends neat categorization and even pushes the boundaries of conventional definitions of 'art.' The exhibition includes wall pieces, drawings, installations, video re-enactment, photographic documentation of her performances and happenings, and artifacts and sculpture. The book gives voice to her performances, happenings, experiments, musings, and insights.

Orange Juice 'calligraphy' by Nye Ffarrabas

Nye's various "Calligraphies" are a favorite project. Read this one carefully from top to bottom to figure out its message.

Contributors to the book summarize Nye's life work of art and poetry as a continual adventure:

"Nye seems to me to occupy an ongoing, open-minded, creative state of surprise."

"Nye is a wordsmith, an alchemist with words."

"Her sensibility includes the everyday and the serendipitous."

Her working state is an everyday "laboratory for tinkering and experimentation with the elements of style and meaning, beauty and communication."

"Nye continues to make thought-provoking, fun and original work."

"Nye's poems and objects voice brevity and wry wit, a passion for social justice, and a fierce challenge to meet her gaze as she enlivens the everyday and familiar to become carriers of more insistent questions. In often playful and intimate work; we witness her grit, her endurance, and delight in the wicked turns of phrase, grounded deep in Yankee sensibility and generosity of spirit."

Nye's description of her own work and creative process dwell on finding the extraordinary in the ordinary:

"The materials I use are often taken from stuff that other people have jettisoned: left-overs, broken objects, typos, and such. Sometimes these things have been reworked, other times the simple act of finding them and giving them a name, and a place to be, is it.

"When you start seeing things in a new way, nothing is exempt, and the playfulness that emanates from this brings new insights, fresh interconnections, and some unsuspected depths. At the same time, speaking from my own perspective, everything is in some way sacred. And special. And weird. And heartbreaking. And hilarious. And breathtaking. And touching. And, in the presence of insatiable curiosity and plentiful goodwill, anything can be seen anew, in another light, showing us ourselves, also, in new ways."

The show publication is available to preview and order at as well as at publisher C. X. Silver Gallery. For further information, contact Adam Silver at the Gallery, (802) 257-7898 or

Copyright 2014, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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