Friday, March 16, 2007

Biography


Cynthia von Buhler is an internationally exhibiting visual artist, illustrator, children's book author, and performer living in New York City. Von Buhler uses traditional as well as unconventional media: painting, sculpture, performance, video projection, installation, living fauna, collage, photography, human detritus, and electronic audio. By innovatively combining these media, often enhanced with text and electronics, von Buhler's canvasses frequently become elaborate kinetic installations. In March 2006, Art & Antiques named von Buhler "one of the top contemporary surrealists", however she has also been linked to the Fluxus movement.

Von Buhler’s canvasses are three-dimensional collages enhanced with objects, live animals, and electronics, such that in addition to being paintings, they are also often large and elaborate mixed-media installations. For example, Miss Ann Thrope is a life-sized painting of a woman with two doves perched inside. When the birds move in the piece, they change its equilibrium and alter its intended meaning. In Sir Repetitious, an egotistical man’s transparent insides reveal two voracious rats, hungry for the food and attention of onlookers – feed the rodents with the supplied seed, and you are satisfying Sir on physical and metaphorical levels. A velvet-curtained puppet theater sets the stage for Show and Tell, a multimedia painting that explores the use of word versus action with hidden visual and auditory messages. The aptly-named Please Don’t Look Up My Skirt is a commentary on date-rape in which a Botticelli-esque beauty without arms or legs tries modestly to cover herself, imploring the viewer not to violate her; those who disregard the plea see what they have become. As when the mind is absent but the body lives on, the pensive but vacant face of Grandfather explores the mechanics of Alzheimer’s disease; the pendulum oscillates to a steady rhythm, but time stands still for a broken clock.

Regardless of medium, all of von Buhler's pieces require the viewer to get involved: sometimes physically, by pulling a cord or inserting a coin to operate a machine, and at other times mentally, when the message sent strikes a chord with the viewer. The Artist is a disembodied mannequin head and wooden hand in a booth. The work takes your quarter, deliberates a moment, and then gives you a tongue-in-cheek asssessment of your artistic temperament, dispensing a postage-stamp-sized example of your style. Cynth-O-Matic offers the brave a chance to buy one of various plastic capsules containing actual samples of the artist’s body hair and fluids from a gaily-decorated vending machine. The piece is von Buhler’s critique of those who attend art openings to chat with the artist and scarf hors d’ouvres while ignoring the art. An androgynous pair of gold-painted legs offers up a Viewmaster slideshow from its pubic region – the piece warns of sexually transmitted diseases by delivering a surprising visual twist. Lil’ Blast O’ Past conjures memories of trying to be grown up by dispensing three more ubiquitous men’s colognes from the 1980s with accompanying audio dialogue; many will remember the smells associated with their various suggested locales – locker room, prom date, and an infamous New York dance club. Though the artist works in numerous media, her pieces are uniform in that each piece provides incisive commentary, whether on morality, aging, vanity, politics, or the art world itself.

Her work has appeared on the covers of New York’s Gallery Guide, Communication Arts, Step by Step Graphics, New York Arts, The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, and many other publications. Von Buhler's cover photograph and headline for The Boston Globe Calendar section was later enlarged and used on billboards advertising the publication. Before von Buhler moved to New York City she lived in Boston where she was chosen by Boston Magazine as one of the "40 Bostonians We Love" in their June 2002 cover feature article. " Von Buhler's paintings have appeared in more than a thousand magazines, books, publications, billboards, and CDs. Her work has also appeared on TV in Law & Order SVU and Kidnapped and she was interviewed and profiled in Mary Magdalen: An Intimate Portrait on The Lifetime Network. In addition, a painting of hers commissioned by The New Yorker was featured in the show's introductory graphics.

Von Buhler has won the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the Society of Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and the Gold Medal from the Visual Club. Her work has been published frequently in The Society of Illustrators Annual, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and American Illustration, each of which feature the best and most cutting-edge illustration in the country.

Howard Stern owns a portrait of himself painted by von Buhler, while Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, bought von Buhler’s portraits of Madonna and Jimi Hendrix, both of which were featured in the "50th Anniversary of Rock and Roll" issue of Rolling Stone. Von Buhler's work is also in the collections of The Nassau County Museum of Art, The Staten Island Museum, The University of Toronto, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and hundreds of personal collections all over the world.

The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside, von Buhler's children’s picture book, was released by Houghton Mifflin in September 2006. Kirkus Reviews called The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside "a sheer delight." The book was chosen as a Teacher's Picks: Best of 2006 by Parent & Child and was a Booksense Children's Pick for Winter/Spring 2006/2007. They Called Her Molly Pitcher, written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by von Buhler was chosen as One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing by The New York Public Library in 2002. The New York Times called the book "handsomely illustrated." In the Steven Spielberg celebrity-written benefit book Once Upon A Fairytale von Buhler's art illustrates a story by Martha Stewart.

Von Buhler is also involved in the music industry and performance art, and has performed at museums, galleries, and nightclubs in major cities around the country. Von Buhler's seminal, underground performance troupe, “Women of Sodom” won a Best Music Poll Award from The Boston Phoenix and paved the way for the revival of burlesque and cabaret acts in Boston such as the Dresden Dolls. Her band "Countess," a rock opera about the music industry, was nominated for a Boston Music Award and the they opened for Karen Finley at Royally F***ed, a three-day event featuring visual and performance art in Boston at The Dietrich von Buhler Gallery, The Institute of Contemporary Art, and The Paradise Rock Club. Von Buhler also formed and managed the band Splashdown, who were for a time signed to Capitol Records. She also co-owned Castle von Buhler Records with her ex-husband and Splashdown member, Adam Buhler and Clifford Stoltze. Castle von Buhler released a series of three art and music CD compilations which won many art and design awards. Proceeds from these compilations were donated to various AIDS charities. Von Buhler also appeared as Bettie Page in a music video for the band The Amazing Crowns on MTV.

CVB Space also known as The Carrozzini von Buhler Gallery, an art gallery, film location, and event space in New York City's Meatpacking district is owned and directed by von Buhler. Stefania Carrozzini is the director of International Exhibition Projects at The Carrozzini von Buhler Gallery. In February, 2007, von Buhler curated an exhibit titled Andy Warhol: In His Wake featuring Warhol's superstars, Ultra Violet, Taylor Mead, Billy Name, and Ivy Nicholson along with artists who were influenced by Warhol. For this exhibit von Buhler created The Great Warhola, an interactive, fortune-telling machine. With reality television and YouTube everyone has the 15 minutes of fame that Warhol predicted for them. This popular exhibit was featured on television in Japan, Switzerland and Germany. CVB Space and the historic, industrial building it is housed in has been featured in Sex and the City, Law & Order SVU, and Someone Like You (starring Ashley Judd, Hugh Jackman, and Greg Kinnear) and will be appearing in Mostly Martha (starring Catherine Zeta-Jones).

Von Buhler, an avid animal lover and rescuer of cats, lives with her husband, noted jazz violinist Russell Farhang, and a veritable zoo of animal species in a castle on Staten Island.

Selected Press

Cynthia von Buhler, cover feature article, Kate Lowenstein, New York Arts, January/February 2007.

"What's New In The Surreal World", Terrance Lindall, Art & Antiques, March, 2006.

Spin at CVB Space, review, Kate Lowenstein, New York Arts, May 2006.

3 Questions for Cynthia von Buhler, interview, Kate Lowenstein, Out There section, Time Out New York, Jan. 19 - 26, 2006

Caffeine for Your Social Life, billboard featuring von Buhler, The Boston Globe, November 2004 – May 2005

Step Right Up, cover feature and interview, Christopher Muther, The Boston Globe Calendar, October 7, 2004

Vanitas, Cynthia von Buhler is Selling Herself, Cheap, feature article, Charles Guiliano, New York Arts, May, 2004

Brooklyn’s Renaissance, TV interview, Channel 5 News (An ABC affiliate), Chronicle Magazine, aired on May 24, 2004

40 Bostonians We Love, cover feature, Boston Magazine, June 2002. “#26 - Cynthia von Buhler, Performance Artist”

Book Design & Art, interview, Arts Media, Summer, 2002

Cynthia von Buhler, cover story, Lisa Cyr, Communication Arts, March/April, 2002

If These Walls Could Talk, Pick of the Week, review, The Boston Phoenix, October, 2002

They Called Her Molly Pitcher review, New York Times Book Review, October 20, 2002

The Countess, Eight Days A Week, cover review, The Boston Phoenix, October, 2001

Total Gonzo: The Countess, Karen Finley, feature story, New York Arts, Charles Guiliano, September, 2001

The Style Makers, cover feature and interview, The Boston Globe Magazine, September, 2001

Stripped Down Performances, Karen Finley and Cynthia von Buhler, review of Royally ******, The Boston Globe, July, 2001

Royally Lewd, Crude Behavior Rules, Arts & Culture, review of Royally ******, The Boston Herald, July, 2001

Hidden Portrayals, Step By Step Magazine, cover story, Lisa Cyr, January, 2001

Allston Gothic, interview, Clea Simon, Boston Globe Magazine, December 17, 2000

Allston Open Studios, Pick of the Week, cover feature, Boston Phoenix, November 18, 2000

Art of Darkness: Lonesome Dove, feature and interview, Boston Magazine, October, 2000

Original Cynthia, Living/Arts cover feature and interview, The Boston Globe, March, 2000

“Through the Looking Glass, Darkly”, review, The Boston Globe, Galleries, June 3, 1999

Meet The Countess, cover feature and interview, Improper Bostonian, Boston, December, 1998

Down For The Countess, cover feature and interview, Stephen Lemons, Entertainment Today, October, 1998

The New Bedford Art Museum, review, Art New England, August/September, The Audubon Legacy and Vault Series, 1998

Myths of Passion Explored, review, The Boston Globe, Galleries, August 7, 1997

Mary Magdalen, An Intimate Portrait, interview, Lifetime Network, April, 1995

Selected International Press

Prima Delle Elezioni, review, D'ARS International Arts Magazine, September, 2005

CVB Space, interview, The International Channel, RAI Corporation Italian TV, aired internationally, May 22, 2004

Il Principe dei sogni, review, “The Principe Azzurro”, Bologna Night and Day, May 29, 2003

Il Principe Azzuro, review, Archivio Delle Arte, September, 2003

The Principe Azzuro, review, D'ARS International Arts Magazine, September, 2003

Awards & Honors

Teacher's Picks: Best of 2006, Parent & Child
Children's Pick for Winter/Spring 2006/2007, Book Sense
One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing,They Called Her Molly Pitcher, The New York Public Library, 2002
Boston Music Awards, nomination for Best Club Act, “Countess”, 2002
Bronze Medal, The Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles, CA, 2002
Exceptional Book of the Year, Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, Bookman Review Syndicate, 1998
The Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll, Women of Sodom, 1997
Silver Medal, The Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles, CA, 1997
Gold and Bronze Medals, The Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles, CA, 1996
Gold Medal, The Visual Club, New York, NY, 1995

Selected Juried Art Books

American Illustration, 25, 23, 21, 20, 18, 17, 14
Society of Illustrators, New York City, 49, 46, 45, 42, 40, 38, 37
Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles, 41, 36, 35
Communication Arts Illustration Annuals, 45, 43, 42, 41, 40, 39, 38, 37; Design Annual, 38

Children's Picture Books

The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside written and illustrated by von Buhler, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0618563148

They Called Her Molly Pitcher, written by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by von Buhler, Knopf, ISBN 0679891870

Once Upon A Fairytale, partially written by Martha Stewart, partially illustrated by von Buhler, 21 celebrity authors, 21 award-winning illustrators, a Steven Spielberg benefit project, Viking, ISBN 0-670-03500-9

[1] Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth Is A Planet, written by Dennis Brindell Fradin, illustrated by von Buhler, Mondo Books, ISBN 1-59336-006-1]

Little Girl in Red Dress With Cat and Dog, written by Nicholas Nicholson, illustrated by von Buhler, Viking, ISBN 0670871834

Other Books

The Shakespeare Oracle: Let the Bard Predict Your Future (Paperback), written by A. Bronwyn Llewellyn with a full tarot deck illustrated by Cynthia von Buhler.

Selected Lectures

Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA, October 3-8, 2004
The Museum of American Illustration, New York, NY, November 4, 2004
Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, 1999