Robert D. Bielecki is a New York City based travel technology entrepreneur and angel investor; a patron of the arts with a concentration in creative improvised music and contemporary composition, a passion for literature, as well as a visual arts care-taker with a particular emphasis on new media and video.
At the age of fifteen, his life was forever changed upon hearing Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Steve Lacy, Morton Feldman, and John Cage (who he had the pleasure of meeting in 1992 prior to his passing).
Music became the launching pad for a voracious interest in culture writ large.
Pre-Foundation cultural philanthropy includes: Sponsorship of the Charles Gayle Lifetime Achievement Award at Vision Festival 19, lead supporter of Bang on a Can’s 2014 season, seat naming at Roulette, sponsor of a Boru O’Connell O’Brien performance at the Kitchen, 2014 underwriter of music programming at Jack NY, 2014 artist grant to Jesse Fleming under the auspices of LAND, Producer’s Circle of NMC Recordings, Executive Producer of recordings by Ideal Bread (Cuneiform Records), Harrison Bankhead Quartet (Engine Studios) as well as Jemeel Moondoc and Evan Parker / Sylvie Courvoisier recordings (Relative Pitch). He has commissioned composers Poul Ruders and Frederic Rzewski.
Mr. Bielecki is on the Museum of Modern Art’s Media and Performance Art Committee, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Digital Art Acquisition Committee, the Artists Advisory Committee at Issue Project Room, and a member of the Rhizome Council.
Recent investments include Veenome (sold to Integral Ad Science); UKnow: Smart Tools that Connect & Protect Digital Families; and the latest, Cuseum: Interactive, Socially Engaging and Context-Aware Mobile Apps for Museums.
In 2014, he decided to formalize his music, art and literary philanthropy through the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation. Its maxim is: Earn it and return it.
(Screen capture from Daniel Rozin’s Mirror No. 10, courtesy bitforms gallery)
Marshall Reese is an artist working in video, installation, digital media, and limited editions, dedicating much of his artistic life in collaboration with other artists — an almost 3 decade partnership with Nora Ligorano as LigoranoReese, and an ongoing collaborative video project since 1984 with Antoni Muntadas.
Dubbed “a conceptual heir to Daumier,” his ice sculptures and political artworks have caused sensations, were the subject of ban attempts by the Republican National Committee and have been widely reported in the New York Times, New York Daily News, FoxNews, ABCNews and The Economist among others.
He has lived in Brooklyn, NY for 30 years. For 15 of those he worked for the Standby Program, which provides post-production services to artists and independent producers, as a video editor and the Executive Director. In 2007, he curated the Words & Music Series of live poetry and music at Cue Art Foundation.
He has received two NEA fellowships, three NYFA fellowships and grants from the Jerome Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Art Matters, and Harvestworks among others. He has been an artist in resident at the MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Lucas Residency at Montalvo Arts Center and Stichting Steim.
He shows with Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco and his works are included in the public collections of many institutions, not limited to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The New York Public Library, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He is the author of two books of poetry and several artists books.
Steve Swell was born in Newark, NJ and has been an active member of the New York City music community since 1975. He has toured and recorded with many artists from mainstreamers such as Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich to so called outsiders as Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker. He has over 40 CDs as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than 100 other releases. He runs workshops around the world and is a teaching artist in the NYC public school system focusing on special needs children.
Swell has worked on music transcriptions of the Bosavi tribe of New Guinea for MacArthur fellow, Steve Feld in 2000. His CD, “Suite For Players, Listeners and Other Dreamers” (CIMP) ranked number 2 in the 2004 Cadence Readers Poll. He has also received grants from USArtists International in 2006 an MCAF (LMCC) award in 2008 and 2013 and has been commissioned twice on the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in 2006 and at Roulette in 2012. In 2014 he received a Creative Curricula grant from the LMCC.
Steve was nominated for Trombonist of the Year 2008 and 2011 by the Jazz Journalists Association, was selected Trombonist of the Year 2008-2010, 2012 and 2014 by the magazine El Intruso of Argentina and received the 2008 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship Award of the Tides Foundation in recognition of his work in NYC public schools. Steve has been selected by the Downbeat Critics Poll in the Trombone category each year from 2010–2015.
(Photo of Steve Swell courtesy Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET )