is an experimentalist,

writer, director, performer, artist and founder of The Development, an underground, multi-faceted studio based in New York City.  Elster's work offers a deep and direct awareness of the human condition and our current world crisis. Elster compulsively penetrates depth, while both antagonizing and playing with the boundaries in film and mixed media. She has collaborated with such artists as the late David Bowie and Yoko Ono.

in 2018 Elster had put forth a dialogue for our times in a conceptual art exhibition, The Wake the F*ck Up Show, at signs and symbols gallery.  A survivor of many tragedies, including 9/11, Elster cut through to the artery to move the American conversation further along in this solo exhibition.

In 2016, Elster emerged from the underground and launched a pop-up gallery in Tribeca for her multidisciplinary, solo exhibition, The Retrospective of an Extroverted Recluse PART ONE, culled from a large body of work amassed over Elster’s intense underground career – the first time the artist has presented her art work to the public. Using words, paper, canvases, photographs, audio, video and performance art, Elster obsessively explored ways to deal with the severity of reality. 

Under the banner of her grassroots, activism organization, Nonpartisan Peace, Elster has a current initiative #ProtectOurVote2020 which is an effort to try and help safeguard the election from bring hacked. Under this banner she also created a video art piece for gun control, From A Concerned Citizen, and she wrote a campaign, Net Neutrality = Democracy, with Gloria Steinem. Visit the tab Nonpartisan Peace to learn more.

In Elster's directorial film work, she takes an unabashed look, in both documentary and fiction, into the complexities of the psychology of existence, which can be at times hilarious and at others times terrifying. In the upcoming film series (which she has been filming for fourteen years) ...IN THE WOODS (and Elsewhere), Into the Cave, and In the Studio, her subjects include Yoko Ono, Terrence Howard, Dave Matthews, Alan Cumming, Debra Winger, Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Mullins, Will Shortz, Questlove and many others. The films are written and directed by Elster, and are marked by her unusual instructions: the subjects have no idea what they have gotten involved in, what will happen, or if they will ever see the outcome. There have mere glimpses into the project over the years, in the form of an interactive website that garnered much press, while in post production but the actual series has not been seen by anyone and is anticipated to be released in 2020.

Elster has done music and performance art at New York City locations such as the New Museum (group show including performance art by Jonas Mekas), Signs and Symbols, Cornelia Street Cafe, Catinca Tabacaru, Salon Stux West, and West Park. Her video art was exhibited in such galleries as Central Booking  (group show including work by such artists as Carolee Schneemann and the late Kate Millett) and the New Museum in a show about death, curated by Heide Hatry.

Elster performs and hosts art happenings in her studio and private gallery, The Development underground. 

Art Biography


Early beginnings

Over the years Elster had spent years of deep, and, at times, bizarre excavation into the recesses of her mind and the minds of her subjects, analyzing the depths of human nature. She wrote, produced, and directed such films as Ill Will, Dirty, and Particles of Truth which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, won awards in the festival circuit, made its theatrical release in NYC at The Village East and played on the Sundance Channel as one of the New Voices.

Elster began her career styling such talent as the late David Bowie, Trent Reznor, Chloe Sevigny, Isabella Rosselini, Thurston Moore and for such magazines as The Face, Dazed and Confused, Rolling Stone, Time and Paper.

Elster took note of the disintegrating progressive and experimental film and music platforms for original voices and decided to launch Channel ELSTER, a place for Out of the Ordinary Art, Cinema and Sound.

Please do visit J. ELSTER, where Elster's raw, sculptural, luxury accessory collection can be found.

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