[From the exhibition
catalog for Factory
Direct]
 

JAN GALLIGAN

Born: Kenosha, WI
Resides: Albany, NY

NUDNY UMELEC
2001; mixed media installation including large format digital photograph

Education: Studied at the American Academy of Art

NUDNY UMELEC is an allegorical artwork concerning heaven, hell, the past and the future, which includes: numerous sightings of angels, Tom Jones as the devil, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel as the acolytes and a large cast of Honzas (Jans) who appear variously as saints, martyrs, mystics, Vodniks, religious reformers and includes Jan Ziska, as the Vodce (the One-Eyed Man). Gloria Estafan and Don Johnson have bit parts and Franz Kafka lurks in the shadowss as the supreme atheist.

 

08-09-01, 3:50PM; Interior: Audi Quattro 2.7 TDI, Ned Foss company car heading south on NY I-87 from Clintondale, NY headquarters of CGI&Partners, to meet Czech Air flight 55 arriving JFK 5:50PM  from Prague. Principals: Jason Brzoska (JB), driver and assistant to Ned; Ned Foss (NF),  managing partner CGI&P; Jan Galligan (JG), artist.  [The car phone beeps twice]

JG: Jason, how do I work this phone?

JB: Simple. Itís all pre-programmed. Two beeps is a text message. Just hit 2-2 and the message will pop up.

(I push the buttons, a message appears: JAN. IíM READY FOR THE CALL, ANYTIME. NED)

JG:  Jason, how do I call Ned?

JB: Push 1-1

Voice: Dej predstaveni se volne inspiroval telkfun...

JG: Jason! Itís in Czech, now what?!

JB: Calm yourself, just reply in english, the translatorís activated.

JG: Hello? Iím trying to contact Ned Foss...

Voice: One moment please...

JG: Hello?!

NF: Jan... Thanks for calling so quickly.

JG: Hey Ned! Where are you?

NF: Nearly home; we're about two hours out, so I'd guess somewhere beyond Greenland. 

JG: Ned, should we be worried about the cost of the call? It sounds like you're right here in the car with us.

 

NF: Sky-Tel's great isn't it? I'm flying coach over and back, so we can spend some of that savings on the call. Fire away. 

JG: As you know, we've been talking since last February about commerce in the modern age, the demise of the industrial manufacturing base, the growing list of obsolete and abandoned factory real estate worldwide, and the need for post-modern corporations to find their place in the globalized e-economy of cyberspace. You did agree that the internet has speeded up and now drives the globalization of manufacturing. And you explained to me that this globalization, moving the means of production away from traditional, but high priced centers of industrial
manufacturing like America's Northeast, has left in it's wake a great deal of now unused and essentially unusable manufacturing plants, ghostly shells of their formerly vibrant selves? 

NF: Uh-huh.

JG: And, you guys, CGI&P, are directly involved in figuring out creative and productive ways to re-use or revitalize vacant factories, via your earlier efforts in Prague which turned small abandoned workshops into loft apartments, high-tech offices and facilities for design and multi-media companies, for instance...

NF: One good example being the Prague headquarters for Grey Advertising... 

JG: Right...and now, with the ARENA project, you're doing it on a rather massive scale, and working with some very impressive partners. I've  come to think of ARENA as three guys and a dream. 
 

NF: And, what about it?...

JG: Well, I see it as the marriage of commerce and art, architecture and art, and high technology media and art.

NF: O.K., I see where you're going. We've got ARENA, the abandoned brewery complex and for various reasons we're striving to create a new entity out of the residue of the old, which can become a hothouse for media, technology, entertainment, living and of course, an art exhibition space, in a unique campus of 19th century structures revitalized, based on Nouvel's plans, with state of the art technology and complemented by ten new buildings, not to mention Gehry's central tower, all connected by glass enclosed atriums, open plazas and green areas. By blending a high tech campus with world class retail, dining, leisure and entertainment, we will provide companies devoted to things virtual with the definitive physical destination for their ideas and energy...

JG: Whoa, Ned, you sound like one of your brochures...

NF: Well, how many times do you think I've given that speil? 

JG: Let's switch topics. What did your father do?

NF: Let's start with my great grandfather, Wilson P. Foss, Sr. Originally a nitroglycerine salesman who parlayed that business into a much bigger chemicals enterprise and eventually sold it to Dupont, at which point he concentrated on three-cushion billards, eventually becoming something of a world champion, as well as getting elected mayor of Haverstraw. 

JG: What next?
 

NF: Wilson Foss, Jr., my grandfather, founder of the Trap Rock Corporation, of West Haverstraw, New York, purveyors of crushed stone used to build most of the up and down state roadways of his day. He was also a major art collector of his time. Speaking of art, when my grandparents divorced, my grandmother later married William Yarrow...

JG: Yarrow, he's the guy who made all those paintings you have that look like Thomas Benton's, right?

NF: That's right. Yarrow and Benton were friends. They worked together and even showed together a few times. Once they were in a group show together that even included Pablo Picasso.

JG: Which brings us to your father...

NF: Wilson P. Foss, III, took over the Trap Rock Corportation, built it into a powerhouse, biggest company of it's kind on the eastern seaboard. He sold it off in1962.

JG: So I guess we can say you come from a line of distinguished industrialists.

NF: Actually a long line, if you include my mother's side of the family, the Chandlees. They go back to the beginning of this country. One of them was married to Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Chandlees represented six generations of Quaker clockmakers, who came to this country in 1690. One of the Chandlees was a surveyor for George Washington. Chandlee Clocks are prized collector's items these days. 
 

 

JG: The Chandlees and the Fosses. Combining the best aspects of art and industry. That's a pretty impressive legacy...

NF: Listen, what's all this got to do with your art project, anyhow? 

JG: Jeeze Ned, I thought we'd been through all this before...

NF: Yeah, I know, I was just wondering, anyhow, I gotta go. I need a Seegram's and water before we hit the tarmac.

JG: O.K. Ned. We'll be seeing you in a little while, and we can continue this conversation on our ride back north. By the way, Jason's a pretty good driver.

NF: You let him drive?!!

JG: Uh, yeah, I, uh, thought it would be O.K. with you...

NF: Tell him to pull over, right now! You take over the driving... 

JG: O.K. Ned. I gotta hang up. 

JG: Jason, how do I turn this thing off?

JB: Simple, just push 9-9.

(I push the buttons, the phone beeps and then goes dead.) 

JG: Jason?

JB: Huh?

JG: You better pull over. Ned says he wants me in the driver's seat. 

JB: Oh, O.K.
 

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galligan@sprynet.com