Beryl Korot

Text/Weave/Line—Video, 1977-2010

June 27, 2010, to January 2, 2011

Beryl Korot has been involved in video art since its infancy. She was co-founder and co-editor of Radical Software (1970), the first publication to document artists’ work and ideas concerning video, and in l976 she co-edited the book Video Art. In 1977, she displayed her complex multi-channel installation Text and Commentary, including weavings, video monitors, and pictographic notations, at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City. That piece is reinstalled in the gallery at the far side of the exhibition.

In her early multiple-channel works Korot created narrative structures based on insights gained from loom programming. In 1980 she invented a language based on the grid structure of woven cloth, and began to translate texts into this abstract language that could be deciphered with a code—a kind of language as still life. Babel, the seven-minute scroll-based video from 2006–7 installed here, refers back to this period.

In her more recent work, her concern with the poetics of vision and voice, patterning, and the passage of time in the natural world are the qualities that leap out at the viewer. In 2007, when Korot began FLORENCE (projected in the next gallery) she made a “weaving” out of bits of video footage of snow storms and waterfalls, some elements of which were used in Vermont Landscape (displayed on a monitor beyond the next gallery).

This is complex, ruminative, and beautiful work—drawing on Korot’s rich knowledge of literature and history, infused with a lifetime’s commitment to art, music and time-based performance, and rooted in the ancient origins of digital media.

Harry Philbrick, curator

KAWS

KAWS

June 27, 2010, to January 2, 2011

This first solo museum exhibition of the work of Brooklyn-based artist and designer Brian Donnelly, a.k.a. KAWS, includes his most recent paintings, sculptures, and drawings, as well as a survey of his iconic street art, apparel, product and graphic designs.

KAWS’s first aesthetic influences came from skateboarding, as did his familiarity with New York City. Around 1991, he started marking his name in different areas of New Jersey and Manhattan. By the time he finished high school, he was mostly focused on graffiti and started intervening on advertising billboards. While exploring new strategies and locations for his work, he obtained a tool for opening bus shelter advertisement boxes. This allowed KAWS to seize the posters, integrate his work, and then replace them. He added an inflated skull with crossed bones and X-ed-out eyes; sometimes the skull was part of a serpentine-looking body that wrapped around the models, a blend that was humorous and daring. Word got around, and when it came to the point where the posters were pulled down and collected almost as soon as KAWS had replaced them, he decided to move on. Next he channeled his creativity into his studio practice, as well as products he developed and distributed on his own and in his boutique in Tokyo, OriginalFake, in partnership with Medicom Toy.

Most recently, KAWS has been exhibiting the art he has been making as a daily practice for some time. His new paintings and sculptures reflect the wit, irreverence, and even affection that he inflicts upon the infamous and iconic entertainment and marketing characters that he loves/hates. KAWS’s characters are highly charged, humorous and yet bittersweet. Although they are recognizable by and accessible to everyone, ultimately they both serve and criticize contemporary consumer culture.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Gina Ruggeri

Immaterial Landscape

June 27, 2010, to August 29, 2010

Gina Ruggeri’s project for The Aldrich is conceived as a constellation of large-scale paintings on Mylar, cut out and attached flush to the Museum’s walls. The works depict imaginary landscape fragments that merge seamlessly with the gallery’s surfaces, activating the space. Surrounding the viewer from floor to ceiling, the images are rendered with dramatic spatial intensity, and take into account the viewer’s physical viewpoint. Trompe l’oeil caverns seem to puncture or erode some walls, while voluminous plumes of smoke and drifting clouds emerge from others. These visionary fragments of nature test the boundary between reality and artifice as they lure the viewer into their believable yet impossible illusions.

Ruggeri’s work also oscillates between the material and the immaterial, and painting and drawing. Much of the immaterial quality emerges when we approach the painting and at close inspection it becomes a pattern of intimate marks, more like an abstract drawing, making us lose our grasp of the overall appearance. As we move farther away, the massive forms of the cavern, the drifting cloud or the flying turf carpet return, materializing with incredible pictorial qualities. Theoretician Rosalind Krauss once explained that drawing is a conceptual experience, while painting provides a more sensuous immediacy. Ruggeri’s work incorporates both and allows for a choreographed movement between the two.

As the works move from form to formlessness and back to form, they question the illusionary space not only of the paintings/drawings themselves, but of the museum as well. They remind us that not everything is what it seems—museums may not be what they seem! Ultimately, Ruggeri’s paintings/drawings are a catalyst for experiencing real and imagined environments through her impeccable work.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Rackstraw Downes

Under the Westside Highway

June 27, 2010, to January 2, 2011

This exhibition chronicles the creation of Rackstraw Downes’s three-part painting, Under the Westside Highway at 145th Street: The North River Water Pollution Control Plant, and a related painting of the George Washington Carver housing project at 103rd Street and Park Avenue in New York City.

Downes works exclusively on site, without the use of a camera, bringing his canvases to the location he is painting. He worked on the Carver House painting in the mornings, and the first painting of the triptych (the middle panel) in the afternoons.

The exhibition starts with the small sketches (immediately behind you) of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. These were made from the park atop the Pollution Control Plant, in 2000. Later, Downes explored the area beneath the West Side Highway (a space which the artist describes in his journal as “very ‘ancient Rome’; Piranesi-like … with enormous columns, and some nice curves …”) in the drawings and small canvases seen on that wall.

In a vitrine are the journals the artist kept during the intensive, day-in, day-out painting process. Excerpts from the journals are in the exhibition brochure. Some of the sketches and drawings for the triptych are on the far wall, to your right.

The finished paintings were primarily completed between May 2008 and August 2009. What appears to be a moment in time has been constructed by the artist—even the joggers and cyclists are carefully rendered from observation, as you can see in the central vitrine which houses a small selection of study drawings.

In the four drawings to your left, the artist explores subtle changes in the composition, leading to the final painting of the Carver housing project.

Harry Philbrick, curator

Gary Lichtenstein

35 Years of Screenprinting

June 27, 2010, to January 2, 2011

John Shearer

America (Continued)

June 27, 2010, to January 2, 2011

John Shearer’s career as a photojournalist began in 1964, when at the age of seventeen he became one of the youngest staff photographers for LOOK magazine. Working for LIFE during the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, he quickly became a noted, award-winning photojournalist who focused primarily on the civil rights movement. His work in photography has now spanned forty-six years, and this exhibition brings together thirty photographs, the majority taken since 2004.

Shearer’s central concern throughout his career has been social justice, and the focus of this exhibition is immigration, which the artist believes to be the primary human rights issue currently facing the United States. The works in this exhibition explore immigration not as an isolated topic, but rather by relating it to the deeper issues of race, class, and economic disparity that are at the roots of discrimination and injustice.

Shearer describes his approach as “picture stories”—he wants to capture an image of an individual that somehow tells their complete story. Influenced early in his career by photographers such as Cartier-Bresson and Eugene Smith, Shearer brings an attitude of emotional idealism to the field of photojournalism, expanding it to embrace the ordinary people whose lives are so often invisible.

The exhibition is bracketed by two large images from early in Shearer’s career, adhered directly to the wall. One is a montage of photographs taken during the civil rights movement, and the other is a solitary portrait of Horace Wilcox, a black man who spent five years in prison in Prichard, Alabama, after being unjustly accused of rape. Acting as bookends to the other photographs, they express both the continuity of Shearer’s career and the unfortunate reality that the struggle for social justice is a continuing battle.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Robert Taplin

Selections from the Punch Series, 2005–10

October 31, 2010, to March 20, 2011

Sculptor Robert Taplin has recently focused on an ongoing series of works that portray the fictional character Punch and his misadventures in the contemporary world. Rooted deep in Western mythology, Punch is an Anglicized version of Punchinello, the trickster figure that played a major role in sixteenth-century Italian commedia dell’arte.

Taplin’s work is steeped in art history, and his Punch series was informed by the work of the eighteenth-century Venetian painter and printmaker Tiepolo, who pictured Punchinello in a series of ink and wash drawings. Tiepolo’s work is known for its dreamlike and sometimes troubling imagery, and his works with Punchinello reveled in the character’s lazy, lecherous, and mischievous nature.

While Tiepolo’s Punchinellos primarily poked fun at the pretensions of the elite, Taplin brings Punch into the present day, where he uses him as a vehicle to express his personal anxieties by infusing the character’s hi-jinks with both psychological and political undertones.

The four small sculptures from Taplin’s Punch series on view indoors are joined by a major new outdoor piece, The Young Punch and His Mother Go Shopping, which has been sited directly in front of the Museum on Ridgefield’s Main Street. In perhaps the most psychologically complex of his Punch pieces, Taplin has portrayed Punch as a five-foot-tall child being led by his towering, eight-foot-tall mother. Punch, who is usually pictured causing trouble, is caught in an awkward and subservient role, emphasizing his male adolescent persona.

Timothy White

Portraits

January 30, 2011, to June 5, 2011

KAWS

Companion (Passing Through)

January 30, 2011, to June 5, 2011

Companion (Passing Through) is an outdoor project by Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly, a.k.a. KAWS, who had his first solo museum exhibition at The Aldrich in 2010. On this occasion, KAWS presents a more than sixteen-foot-high sculpture of his Companion, sitting down with both gloved hands covering its face.

KAWS introduced the famous Companion in 1999. The seven and three-quarter inch limited edition toy featured the signature KAWS inflated skull and crossbones, with a skinny-legged Mickey Mouse body. KAWS’s selection of Mickey Mouse was the result of a search for the most recognizable and international character in the cartoon world to “take down” and his interest in challenging its assertive body posture. Since then, he has introduced roughly a dozen versions of the Companion in different sizes, materials, and body postures. Why does KAWS keep revisiting the Companion? By producing the exact same character on different scales, KAWS is eroding the separation between a commercial product—a thirteen-inch toy—and an artwork—a sixteen-foot sculpture. To his mind, the change in scale is not enough to relegate one output to commercial product and the other to art product. Also, repeating a character over and over again only makes it more relevant and delivers a very clear statement.

This Companion (Passing Through) presents a body posture that brings to mind that of Auguste Rodin’s 1902 sculpture, The Thinker. Rodin’s famous work represented a sober nineteenth-century “image of Man meditating in the face of destiny” and is today the quintessential image for representing the intelligentsia. KAWS’s Companion (Passing Through) presents a different tone and, given his humorous delivery, this Companion shies away from the stereotype of The Thinker. Yet both sculptures assume the spirit of their times, implying profound meditation on an uncertain present, tinged with anxiety.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Thilo Hoffmann

High School Portraits

January 30, 2011, to June 5, 2011

Over the course of the past decade, Swiss artist Thilo Hoffman has consistently worked by intruding—politely—into the lives of individuals and organizations. Working in collaboration with his subjects, he acts more as an impresario than an artist, enabling participants to realize their dreams and wishes via his deceptively simple film and photography projects.

For his exhibition at The Aldrich, Hoffmann recruited a group of fourteen area high school students as collaborators in the creation of unique “self-portraits,” photographic portrayals in which each student decided the location, the composition, the right shot, and finally the title of the picture. The creative impulse behind each portrait and the direction of the photo shoot was completely in the hands of the subject, with the only rule being that the student in the portrait should be half the size of the finished photograph, a ratio that allows the chosen setting to take on maximum significance.

One fact was certain from the beginning: Hoffmann wanted the students, not their parents, to be the guiding creative force behind the photographs. This was accomplished (in most cases) by Hoffmann communicating directly with the students via the now ubiquitous medium of texting. As Hoffmann quipped, “Five hundred texts later, we have an exhibition.” It should be noted that the typical photo session for High School Portraits resulted in at least fifty shots, and there were several sessions that generated close to eighty.

Hoffmann’s process raises the question of exactly who is the artist. He sees his role as being simply to empower his subjects; the primary creative impulse comes from the person in front of the camera.

Richard Klein, interim co-director

Hope Gangloff

Love Letters

January 30, 2011, to June 5, 2011

Hope Gangloff was born in Amityville, New York, in 1974. She studied fine art at Cooper Union in New York and for many years made her living by doing illustrations for publications such as The New York Times and The New Yorker and working in a foundry. Since her first solo exhibition at Susan Inglett Gallery in 2006, she has been primarily busy with her art.

The title Love Letters was suggested by Hope. This is not a surprise, since she constantly states that she loves her friends, her husband, her dog, and nature. I will venture to say that she loves painting just as much and that her canvases bring all those irrepressible love affairs together. In this exhibition dedicated to portraiture, Hope’s work presents her closest friends from life and from intimate photographs taken while on vacation, at dinner, or hanging out at their houses or studios. Some elements of her compositions come from those photographs, but mostly she just gets a feeling from them, because being visually accurate or realistic is not her interest. “It has to look right, but it doesn’t have to be right; it has to feel good,” she explains. With her, it’s all about feeling.

Lounging, relaxed—or even passed out—the artist paints and draws her peers mainly in self-engrossed, inward or aloof demeanors, and in unassuming everyday scenes. Hope’s work is not only forgiving—as is true love—it is close and personal, and exudes an air of existentialism. These highly nuanced and passionate portraits ultimately convey the feeling of a whole generation of young adults trying to cope with our current “Great Recession.” Hope’s work is the expressive register of our era; in the midst of the harsh struggles of our current everyday lives, she chooses to depict both beauty and passion.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

James Esber

Your Name Here

January 30, 2011, to June 5, 2011

This exhibition brings together two separate but related bodies of work that James Esber has pursued for the past two years. Long interested in appropriating imagery from the media and popular culture, Esber has focused his recent work on our relationship with individuals who live primarily in media space, and in particular on the way that the media both amplifies and distorts those who are in the spotlight.

In the This is not a portrait series, the artist has asked over 130 friends and acquaintances to redraw one of his own drawings of Osama bin Laden. Esber first filtered the photographic “truth” of bin Laden through his own calligraphic drawing process, then passed the result through the skills, beliefs, and temperament of others. Much like a game of “Telephone,” the bin Laden drawing project explores the way that both transmission and repetition change meaning.

Esber has been using colored Plasticine clay as a painting medium for almost fifteen years, and this exhibition brings together six portrait-based works done in this unusual material. LightblueMichael, Esber’s first celebrity portrait (done in 2006), is joined by five recent portraits depicting individuals whose fame is based in fleeting media obsession, such as “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who ditched a passenger plane into the Hudson River

Esber’s portraits exhibit an animated optical quality, where the images alternate in and out of legibility. At one moment we are looking at a series of abstract marks and at the next moment they resolve themselves into a visage. Similarly, the individuals portrayed, whether they are Sully Sullenberger or Osama bin Laden, flicker and flare: both on our screens and in our consciousness. Esber’s work always implicates the viewer by requiring engagement beyond a mere superficial glance.

Richard Klein, Co-Interim Director

Jenny Dubnau

Head On

January 30, 2011, to June 5, 2011

Jenny Dubnau’s series of portraits for her exhibition at The Aldrich includes artists Shimon Attie, James Esber, Thilo Hoffmann, herself, and some Museum staff members. All the artists represented are currently exhibiting at the Museum during this semester in which the work on view relates to the theme of Portraiture.

Dubnau’s straightforward paintings are typical and traditional portraits as we know them. However, they can also function as anti-portraits, because instead of choosing the most complimentary pose and facial expression—one that would glorify the sitter in perpetuity, as in traditional portraiture—Dubnau captures the fleeting moment of an involuntary expression. In addition, she finds physical imperfections, such as signs of aging, to be compelling instances of vulnerability, and focuses on them in detail. Not surprisingly, she keeps a reminder, in the form of a piece of paper tacked to her studio wall, of the “good things about realism”: “Toughness, lack of sentimentality and courage of facing reality: POLITICAL.” To this, Dubnau adds: “I think realism is political by nature because it does not idealize or obscure the truth: it’s harder to avoid the political nature of things if their edges are not being ‘softened.’”

Dubnau’s work is also political in the sense that realist painting in today’s contemporary art world is often considered a style which has lost its relevance. Nonetheless, in her mind resorting to an unapologetically unsentimental and descriptive language is relevant to our time. “You are capturing something about the way people really look … I can see a lot of anxiety in their faces and it may be my own projection, but I am constantly thinking about global warming, the war in Iraq, the wrecked economy. I like to think that anxieties such as these are reflected in the faces of my subjects.”

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Shimon Attie

MetroPAL.IS.

January 30, 2011, to May 30, 2011

Shimon Attie’s MetroPAL.IS. is an eight-channel immersive HD video installation that features members of the Israeli and Palestinian communities of New York City. Attie’s intention is for the artwork, created with the assistance of his longtime production associate, Vale Bruck, to re-imagine and re-configure the seemingly intractable Middle East conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, in part by engaging their shared secondary hybrid identity—that of being New Yorkers.

Attie has filmed members of each community one at a time in a darkened studio, performing from a seamless document created by the artist that combines the Israeli and Palestinian Declarations of Independence. The performances have been edited so that, like a Greek chorus, at times only one individual speaks, at others two, or eight, or none. Although there are great similarities in the two declarations, Attie decided that Israeli participants would only speak words from the Israeli declaration and Palestinian participants would only speak words from the Palestinian declaration, with both groups speaking words and phrases common to both. This not only reinforced each group’s identity, but also set the stage for confrontation and introduced the potential of reconciliation.

There are twelve New York/Middle Eastern characters in MetroPAL.IS., each conceived as a pair, including falafel cooks, businessmen, subway workers, and pregnant women. As the range of characters attests, MetroPAL.IS. is as much about what it means to be a New Yorker as it is to be either Palestinian or Israeli, a reflection on Attie’s interest in cultural displacement and the way that identity is mediated by place.

Ultimately, MetroPAL.IS. is a layered artwork that resists easy interpretation and defies preconceived notions of what it means to be an Israeli, a Palestinian, and a New Yorker—or by extension, an American.

Richard Klein, Co-Interim Director

MTAA

All the Holidays All at Once

August 21, 2011, to October 2, 2011

MTAA is a Brooklyn-based artists’ collective that originated in 1996 and comprises Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden. The practice of this troupe is based in performance and relies on the participation of the community to create the work, which is generally ephemeral.

For their project at The Aldrich, All the Holidays All at Once, MTAA made a call to the community asking for the temporary loan of holiday-themed lawn ornaments in order to display them in the Sculpture Garden. The call came through posts at the Museum, local papers, Craigslist, and the artists’ URL, holiday.mtaa.net, where interested donors were given information on the project and the specifics of the loan. In exchange for borrowing the ornaments, MTAA will give each lender a signed “thank you” certificate.

Decorations celebrating holidays as varied as New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa will be arranged in a parade-like procession. A picnic/performance on August 21 will attempt to celebrate all the holidays at once over the course of the event.

This project, like most of MTAA’s inclusive and participatory projects, deliberately attempts to blur the boundary between artist as active producer and audience as passive receptor. These artists commend themselves by creating work whose material form is secondary, thus placing primary relevance upon the participation of the community, the performance, and the Web discussions, all of which favor the idea rather than the object. And the fact of coming together to accomplish something, to democratically organize ourselves to create something—even if that something may seem absurd—is a great testimonial to the potential of engaging and feeling engaged, and the different strategies that led to that accomplishment.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut , curator

Judi Werthein

Do You Have Time?

June 26, 2011, to December 31, 2011

Do You Have Time? is a film by Argentinean artist Judi Werthein. The project originated when Werthein encountered David Kleinman, the father of a friend and colleague, at a panel discussion held at the New Museum on Julieta Aranda’s work, where the topic of the conversation revolved around memory.

The sole character is David, a New Yorker obsessed with the untold truths behind official American history. The film, created in one single shot lasting two hours, presents his own personal take on North America and its history. This version is not one legitimized by any academic degrees and yet it resonates with the views of many well-informed laymen and women. David is very convincing in his arguments and painstakingly lists important facts that have been excluded and omitted from common knowledge, leading us to doubt the truthfulness of our established American history. Ultimately, this film asks the paramount question: “Is there an official, absolute and complete history of a country?”

The film is projected onto a painting by Tomas Espina, an Argentinean artist whom Werthein invited to participate in the piece by commissioning a painting to be used as a screen. Espina mainly paints with gunpowder on canvas, resulting in imagery based on the destruction of the support material.

Do You Have Time? is an exercise in memory, in recounting history by avoiding a linear use of time; it avoids explaining history as a cause/effect structure where one event is the immediate consequence of a previous one. Do You Have Time? recounts history from David’s memory, a cyclical model of time that allows for revisiting events and incorporating issues that had previously been denied. David’s history is closer to us, to the way we remember, which makes it perhaps more accurate than an official one. Werthein, David, and Espina encourage us to understand that history is a tricky subject that allows the incorporation of infinite revisions and contributions—while also allowing us to take for granted convenient exclusions.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut , curator

Type A

Barrier and Trigger

June 26, 2011, to December 31, 2011

The artists’ collaborative Type A (Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin) has consistently made work that deals with boundaries—both real and imagined. This exhibition brings together two radically different but related projects: Barrier, a modular concrete sculpture inspired by “Jersey barriers,” the concrete highway dividers that have been repurposed as security barricades in the post-9/11 world; and Trigger, a photography project that provocatively depicts the reasons Americans feel the need to arm themselves.

Jessica Stockholder

Hollow Places Court in Ash-Tree Wood

June 26, 2011, to December 31, 2011

In 2009 an ailing, 125-year-old American ash tree was cut down in The Aldrich’s Sculpture Garden. It was agreed that the wood should be offered to an artist, and sculptor Jessica Stockholder was invited to utilize it in an exhibition: perhaps surprisingly, as she is well known for ephemeral abstraction, primarily made from synthetic, man-made materials and objects. In this work, she continues to explore how picture-making intersects three dimensions as she muses over the relationship between trees and architecture.

The ash tree’s wood prompted Stockholder to reflect on her formative influences as she grew up in Vancouver. The imagery she applied to the wooden surfaces was influenced by both the distinctive landscape and her appreciation of the indigenous Native culture of the northwest Pacific coast—particularly the spectacular woodcarving and printmaking traditions. Allusions to landscape mingle with references to eyes (stylized eye-forms are prevalent in Northwest Coast Native art), mirroring the viewer’s gaze and suggesting both the accumulated experience of the tree and the fleeting glance of the viewer.

These works are the result of Stockholder’s unique collaboration with fine art screenprinter Gary Lichtenstein and cabinetmaker Clifford Moran. Moran expanded small paper maquettes made by the artist into the full-scale wooden “screens,” and Lichtenstein utilized Stockholder’s drawings to produce silkscreens for printing on the leaning boards. The hand-painted imagery was applied in The Aldrich’s workshop with the assistance of Richard Cooke, the head preparator, and Christopher Manning, his assistant.

These works, made from the wood of a tree that grew outside The Aldrich’s windows, are meant to be experienced indoors. From the protection of the gallery, they draw attention to our intersection with—and adaptation to—the natural world outside, the artist’s past, and art history.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Kate Eric

One Plus One Minus One

June 26, 2011, to December 31, 2011

Kate Eric is a decade-old collaborative identity comprised of Kate Tedman and Eric Siemens. The married couple spend part of their time in San Francisco and part in Italy, where they own a rural house that provides the perfect setting for long spans of isolation. Taking advantage of the lack of electricity, telephone, and Internet, they make work that is incredibly nuanced and labor intensive. Working jointly, the artists create surreal scenes that transcend our human scale. Their depictions present either minuscule molecular-like interactions or—seemingly quite the opposite—the dynamics of the cosmos and the universe. These are formally expressed by the juxtaposition of different punctilious organic structures, clashing floating veils, or proto-animal parts in watery and almost antigravitational environments. The artists summarize their particular interests in this manner: “… the inspiration comes as much from what lies on the other end of a microscope or telescope …”

Kate Eric explain: “We enjoy looking at interactions of any sort, whether it be carbon and hydrogen, a new idea and a preconceived notion, or a cartoon elephant and a mouse. It is the commonality in these interactions that fascinates us.” The close and extended examination of such relationships allows them to create “meticulously conceived, dutifully researched, and extravagantly prepared” paintings and drawings. Yet, they also rely on accidents. “We do depend heavily on these mistakes to spark further exploration. Art without accident is evolution without mutation. Thankfully, we have each other and our wildly insufficient communication skills to provide an endless source of accidents.”

The exhibition at The Aldrich is the artists’ first museum exhibition and it presents a small survey from early work, where the human figure was somewhat present, to the latest, which is quite devoid of human life. “Over time, the fascination with equivocating human interactions with that of purely physical objects has dwindled and, along with it, the need for necessarily including the human form itself.”

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut , curator

Chelpa Ferro

Visual Sound

June 26, 2011, to January 8, 2012

Independently renowned artists Barrão, Luiz Zerbini, and Sergio Mekler got together in 1995 under the umbrella “Chelpa Ferro”—Portuguese slang for money and steel—with the objective of doing some leisurely experimentation outside the constraints of their primary individual art careers. The Brazilian collective, based in Rio de Janeiro, take a fresh, somewhat chaotic, and savvy interdisciplinary approach to objects that they transform into animate sculptures and sound-creating devices, which has garnered them an important place in the Brazilian art world.

Chelpa Ferro’s artworks and performances acknowledge their audience by creating inescapable environments that envelop the viewer through sound. Sound is the vehicle that exalts, exaggerates, or contradicts the visual experience in their installations. Chelpa Ferro believe that any object can simultaneously be transformed into an instrument and a sculptural artwork, that any object has a visual, a sculptural, and an acoustic dimension. They highlight or contradict these dimensions with humorous exchanges that leave viewers in awe of the unexpected, encouraging a constant back and forth between what is heard, what is seen, what is experienced with the body, and what these relationships were expected to be.

The Chelpas squeeze a rhythmical sound from non-musical devices such as electric toothbrushes, blenders, drills, sewing machines, or juice makers, exploring the sounds that are the soundtrack of our contemporary world. Thus, they bring these sounds to our attention as relevant, as part of our cognitive and aesthetic lives. In the installations, sounds and their unexpected sources (electro-domestic objects) combine with high-tech equipment (speakers, cables, computers, and sophisticated computer programming) to provide a new visual representation of sound and confer an aura of mystery upon the mundane objects. The surprising combinations question the nature of art, and music vs. sound, in our modern, technology-driven, consumer society.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut , curator

Andrea Dezsö

Haunted Ridgefield

October 31, 2011, to December 31, 2011

Kathryn Spence

Dirty and Clean

January 29, 2012, to June 10, 2012

Roy McMakin

Middle

January 29, 2012, to June 10, 2012

united states

united states

July 15, 2012, to February 24, 2013

united states is a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states is presented at a time when political and social divisions in this country are readily apparent, and polarization on many major issues is at an historical high. The United States is the oldest surviving federation and one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations on earth; the idea of reconciling multiple points of view and belief systems is intrinsic to the notion of what it means to be American. The word “state” also connotes a condition of mind or temperament, and
the present state in which we find ourselves is clearly one of uncertainty and unease, as reflected in much of the work included in this series of exhibitions.

Subjects that are touched upon, among others, include history (and forgetfulness), unifying texts and phrases, war, political division, race, identity, the economy, immigration, competition vs. cooperation, mythology, the social contract, and consumerism. No selection of art can summarize the complexity of the meanings inherent in the concept of “united states,” however the goal is not to provide closure, but rather to echo the belief that disparate entities united to form a whole are hopefully greater (and more profound) than the simple sum of parts.

united states includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, as well as singular projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshansky.

united states has been organized by Alyson Baker, executive director, Richard Klein, exhibitions director, and Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator, with the assistance of Tracy Moore, education director, and Kelly Taxter, curatorial consultant.

James Grashow

Corrugated Fountain

April 1, 2012, to May 12, 2012

Sculptor and printmaker James Grashow was focused on paper as a medium for over forty years. Paper is generally considered to be a humble medium,
yet Grashow has repeatedly used it on a grand scale, most notably in his 1988 installation entitled The Ocean (a gallery-filling, woodcut-printed cardboard environment featuring an ocean liner, lighthouse, and towering waves) and his 1998 installation YaZoo (a collection of life-size cardboard zoo animals). His most recent effort, Corrugated Fountain, was inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Bernini’s famous Baroque sculpture that was completed in 1762.

Corrugated Fountain took four years to complete, and unlike the artist’s earlier corrugated works, its eventual destruction was integral to its conception. The Fountain has been exhibited indoors in Virginia, New York City, and Pittsburgh, but Grashow knew from the beginning that its last public presentation would be outdoors, and its demise would be a performance of sorts.

In the spectrum of materials, paper is one of the most ephemeral, and Grashow’s exuberant gesture is meant to remind us of the fleeting nature of all human endeavor. Grashow explains: “Corrugated Fountain seemed to be the perfect vehicle to express my growing awareness of our temporality. Water and cardboard cannot exist together. The idea of a paper fountain is impossible, an oxymoron that speaks to the human dilemma. I wanted to make something heroic in its concept and execution with full awareness of its poetic absurdity. I wanted to try to make something eternal out of cardboard… the Fountain was an irresistible project for me.”

Corrugated Fountain will remain outdoors at The Aldrich until May 12. The final chapter of the Fountain’s life is uncertain, as the forces of nature (and time) will now remove control from the hand of the artist.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Corrugated Fountain is accompanied in the Museum’s lobby by excerpts from the film, The Corrugated Bernini provided by Floating Stone Productions, a film that chronicles the story of Grashow’s creation and ultimate destruction of the sculpture.

Accumulated Wishes is a project conceived by the artist in which visitors are invited to participate by recording their wishes on special coins and tossing them into the fountain. The coins, embellished with a Grashow design, are available in the Museum’s Education Center.

Xu Bing

Tobacco Project

January 29, 2012, to June 10, 2012

Xu Bing, one of China’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, is known especially for his exploration of language. In Tobacco Project he furthers that interest, presenting the culture of tobacco as a far-reaching system of signs and symbols. Using tobacco as both subject and object, the exhibition includes Xu Bing’s adaptations of historical texts and graphics: a book made of whole tobacco leaves and printed with an early-seventeenth-century account of Jamestown, Virginia; a poem composed from historical tobacco brand names and printed on cigarette paper; and Chinese cigarettes printed with selections from Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (the “Little Red Book”).

Tobacco engages Xu Bing on many levels simultaneously, allowing him to raise questions, make new discoveries, and expand the viewers’ awareness. Above all, he sees it as a medium of cross-cultural exchange—one that first linked Virginia and the American colonies to Europe and other parts of the world in
the age of discovery and which continues to provide a connective thread in the age of globalism. In addition, he appreciates tobacco’s unique formal properties. Tobacco Project appeals to the sense of smell as well as sight, and Xu Bing is conscious of permeating the gallery with the rich, sweet odor of tobacco. He also makes pieces that embody tobacco’s life cycle, from leafy and green to brittle and brown to smoke and ash. Other works feature the materials and paraphernalia associated with tobacco consumption, including pipes, papers, matches, and ashtrays. Tobacco Project contains elements of sociology, history, politics, and personal narrative, but ultimately it is an artist’s take on tobacco—a subject that fascinates Xu Bing for its history of innovation as much as for its exploitation and self-contradiction.

John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

This exhibition has been organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with generous support from Carolyn Hsu-Balcer and René Balcer. Materials provided by Marvin Coghill; Phil James, Mundet International. Live tobacco at The Aldrich provided by The New York Botanical Garden.

Regina Silveira

In Absentia (Collection)

January 29, 2012, to June 3, 2012

Renowned Brazilian artist Regina Silveira’s exhibition includes a series of absent artworks presented at The Aldrich, an institution that is itself without a permanent collection. With this exhibition, Silveira provides a series of iconic masterpieces, the ideal collection any museum could envision housing, while simultaneously paying homage to the masters she currently finds relevant. As she revisits these works in her own style, she presents us with empty pedestals, backed by the gigantic and distorted vinyl shadows of recognizable, yet absent, modern works.

Since the 1980s, Silveira has challenged the relationship between an object and its shadow, something impossible in the real world. The visitor is enticed to
first perceive the shadows as almost three dimensional, since they are initially experienced mainly with the body because of their larger-than-life scale and unsettling distortions. The shadows provide an off-balance physical experience before they are perceived with the mind. With this back and forth between object and shadow, presence and absence, Silveira attempts to “construct and deconstruct images and spatialities.” Her disproportionate (and impossible) shadows are similar to those portrayed by Giorgio de Chirico in his canvases, explains art historian Jennie Hirsh, who argues that Silveira brings to the present his propensity for uncanny shadows, which produce enigmatic and metaphysical atmospheres that are destabilizing and unsettling.

The Absentia series has been partially incarnated on several occasions. The idea for this body of work was initiated as early as 1983, when several perspective drawings depicting four empty bases projecting shadows of works by Man Ray, Picasso, Duchamp, and Boccioni were laid out in a radial disposition. A condensed version of the project came together at the São Paulo Biennial that year, when Silveira exclusively presented the Duchamp works, and yet another materialized a decade later as a project for the LedisFlam Gallery, New York. Several museums now own the permanent versions of these works (made of durable materials like wood or plastic laminate, or a digital file holding the vinyl design), yet this exhibition at The Aldrich is the first to feature all the Absentias in one place.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Roy McMakin

Untitled
 Main Street Sculpture Project

January 29, 2012, to May 13, 2012

Roy McMakin’s work has consistently engaged with the transformation of the familiar into the unfamiliar. The artist has a deep love of vernacular form, with his interests extending from furniture and architecture to ceramics and glassware. His new outdoor work Untitled (2011), specifically made for the Museum’s storied location, is an example of how his eye is attracted to the everyday. Invited in the summer of 2011 to propose a project for Ridgefield’s Main Street, McMakin looked beyond the historic homes and churches that grace the neighborhood
to things that were so obvious as to be practically invisible: post lamps, real estate “for sale” signs, and the ubiquitous rocks left by the glacier. McMakin
has fabricated a version of each out of cedar, raising them up from ground
level via chromed steel poles. The new versions of each object follow the exact size and shape of the originals, but their rendering in wood (and suppression of distracting surface detail) takes them out of the category of the specific to that of the archetypal. Like classical sculpture, they are not so much real as ideal, and their suspension on poles communicates to the viewer that they are not mere doppelgangers, but rather objects for contemplation. The designs of the lamp and the sign were based on measured drawings done from versions found on Main Street, and the form of the rock was determined from an actual rock found on the Museum’s property that was sent to the artist’s Seattle studio.

Barrão

Mashups

January 29, 2012, to June 10, 2012

Brazilian artist Barrão is best known for his whimsical and rather bizarre clusters and mashups made from fragments of popular vitreous porcelain and ceramic objects. The artist gathers the ubiquitous pottery and ornaments, which were once commonly cherished in most Brazilian households, by scouting the second-hand stores, flea markets, and dumpsters of Rio de Janeiro. Once he has acquired enough materials, he sorts and classifies the ceramics again and again in his studio, separating them by size, color, function, vessel, or type of ornament. The collections Barrão builds through this process have their ultimate manifestation in the form of sculptures, each of which is a mini-collection, a vibrant extrusion of explosive visual and tactile qualities.

The sculptures present all the free-flowing associations he finds between the specifically collected and collaged items. Even if the sculptures are dense
and charged with multiple relationships, we are, nonetheless, able to follow
his juxtapositions with delight, since they are funny and incredibly accessible. They are also a testament to the transparency of the media: Barrão makes
the manner in which each ceramic fragment articulates with the other plainly evident. His appreciation for the obvious seams points towards a constructive structure that allows us to recognize the individuality of each different fragment, even as he unites them in a single entity. These seams, which permit contradictions to co-exist, are a significant aspect of the work. The journey of the lines as they curve tightly, intersect, envelop, keep flowing, bifurcate, and perhaps even penetrate the piece, echoes a convoluted path of life.

Ultimately, by utilizing the different ceramic sources and establishing new sets of relationships between the parts, these sculptures present a new landscape with infinite possibilities. Every element in the sculptures are freed from its previous function and come together with the other parts to form a new identity,

one that escapes immediate commodification. Barrão appropriates everyday domestic objects for his works and inserts them back into circulation with an ample balance of presence and mystery; they suggest a combination of limitless potential: from the outside in and from the inside out.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Jim Dingilian

Subtractive Images

January 29, 2012, to June 10, 2012

Over the course of the past decade, Jim Dingilian has developed a body of work in which he painstakingly renders ephemeral imagery by hand on found objects. This exhibition brings together three singular series of recent sculptures that the artist has modified by subtraction—the careful erasure or removal of material— to produce optically realistic representations.

Using old wooden school desktops whose surfaces he has covered entirely
with pencil, Dingilian “draws” atmospheric landscapes by erasing the graphite; repurposing empty glass bottles, the artist smokes their interiors with candle soot, and then through a process of delicate scraping depicts the marginal landscapes where such discarded bottles might be found; and utilizing aluminum beer and soda cans, Dingilian folds, punches, polishes, and sands their surfaces to create objects that reference nineteenth-century daguerreotype portraits.

Dingilian started his career as a photographer and the work in this exhibition, although not photographic, has been significantly informed by the nature of photography and its history. The landscape works also share affinities with nineteenth-century landscape painting, particularly due to the dramatic depiction of light, but differ significantly because of their emotional content: instead of exhibiting spiritual exaltation, they present a more melancholic view of human experience. The landscapes the artist chooses never embody classical beauty, but rather places of either numbing banality or unaccountable foreboding.

Dingilian’s interest in the phenomenon of light is clearly apparent in the works that resemble daguerreotypes. Just like an actual daguerreotype, the images on Dingilian’s can pieces are clearly visible only when viewed at an angle where one’s point of view is in correct relationship to the light source. The printed graphics that remain on the cans after the artist’s manipulation—Ballantine, Budweiser, Narragansett—offer poetic hints to their original lives.

The memories and associations that are conjured by the found objects chosen by Dingilian are amplified by the images he overlays on their surfaces. Dingilian’s work, although exhibiting a sense of nostalgia, avoids the simply sentimental with its mysterious sense of loss and longing.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Hank Willis Thomas

Strange Fruit

July 15, 2012, to September 30, 2012

My work is about framing and context. More specifically, I am fascinated with how history and culture are framed, who is doing the framing, and how these factors affect our interpretation of reality. Partially inspired by Harvey Young’s recent book, Embodying the Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body, this exhibition is a visual and conceptual exploration of the black body as spectacle and souvenir in American popular culture. In The Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord writes, “The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images.” He continues, “The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized.” Using these writings as cues, I investigate the power of the image to support or subvert misleading “grand narratives” about history and the present moment.

In recent years I have approached my art practice assuming the role of a visual culture archaeologist. I am interested in the ways that popular imagery informs how people perceive themselves and others around the world. My work brings history forward through framing our experience of race, class, and gender as conditioned by popular culture then and now. Ultimately, my goal is to subvert the common perception of “black history” as somehow separate from American history, and
to reinstate it as indivisible from the totality of past social, political, and economic occurrences that make up contemporary American culture.

When working with historically and emotionally charged content, I am constantly confronted with questions of morality and accountability. Are there responsible ways to re-present images of horror and abuse? By reinvestigating historical artifacts and tropes, might we reveal counter narratives that inspire us to reimagine their relationship to the present moment? What happens when the visual legacy of American lynching collides with the visual legacy of the slam dunk? Can twenty- first-century images of African-American men in triumph be seen as responses to twentieth-century images of them in torture? Are they a form of erasure or evolution? What is the relationship between black fieldwork, then and now? Can the ubiquitous language of commodity culture and advertising be employed to speak to and about more than merchandise and celebrity? If so, to what end?

Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas: Strange Fruit is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, and Erik Parker, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

Jonathan Brand

One Piece at a Time

July 15, 2012, to September 30, 2012

Cars played a pivotal role in Canadian-born artist Jonathan Brand’s youth. He grew up on the border with Michigan, where his grandfather built assembly lines for the auto industry. Several of his uncles and cousins are mechanics. In addition, Brand and his father restored three antique vehicles together, one of them a
1969 Ford Mustang that belonged to the artist. Restoring the Mustang during
his college years presented a tough challenge: the artist wanted to propose to
his girlfriend, now wife, and was in need of funds for the diamond ring and the wedding, which prompted the sale of the car. However, the Mustang’s memory lingered on, and in 2010 Brand decided to re-create the vehicle full-size from his recollections and photographs. The title of the exhibition, One Piece at a Time, pays homage to Johnny Cash’s song about a car assembly line worker’s fantasy of owning a Cadillac by removing one auto part at a time, stashed in his lunch box, and assembling it at home. Similarly, Brand re-created his car one piece at a time. Only in his case, the parts were drawn flat with computer software, printed on paper, folded and glued together. The intention was to
hold onto the experience of re-making and restoring, resulting in a car made by memory where most of the details are similar, but not accurate; hence the end result is not a precise replica. The work in this exhibition does not immediately reveal it is made of paper or divulge its inaccuracies: “I like my projects to unravel slowly and reward the viewer for looking closely,” explains the artist.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Jonathan Brand: One Piece at a Time is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

Pedro Barbeito

Pop Violence

July 15, 2012, to September 30, 2012

Spanish-born, New York-based artist Pedro Barbeito’s exhibition at The Aldrich presents a series of work ranging from 2005 to the present. The paintings in Pop Violence are based on images of war drawn from American entertainment and news media. For Barbeito, these works address the formative role of violence

in contemporary life, from a political ethos driven by “terror” and deception
to the aesthetics of visual assault prevailing in popular culture. Drawing upon the anxieties of an age when we are afforded, primarily through the Internet, unprecedented visual access to the violence of war and political strife (the conflict in Iraq and the Abu Ghraib images of torture, for example), these canvases materialize through painting the ubiquitous command found in most NYC transportation hubs: “If you see something, say something.”

“Painting, since the beginning of history, has been the representation of the
world through pictures,” explains Barbeito, “and as such, my paintings represent our current world, exploring the relationship between digital imaging, culture
at large, and the history of painting.” His images are particularly informed by
the artist’s interest in the traditions of popularized depictions of violence, from early superhero comics (Fighting Yank/Captain America/Battle Brady), to video game imagery (Gears of War/Halo 3), to the portrayal of violence and jingoism in movies and on television. These are all powerful popular forms that testify to the workings of violence in America, yet do so in often beautiful and visually inventive ways. The layering of images, paired with the physicality of the paint application on the canvas, typifies the presentation of violence in our contemporary era, speaking to the cacophony of voices in communications media overloaded by often-contradictory information: flag waving, horror, and glamour.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Pedro Barbeito: Pop Violence is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

Brad Kahlhamer

Bowery Nation

July 15, 2012, to February 24, 2013

Brad Kahlhamer’s gallery-filling installation, Bowery Nation, brings together 100 small, figurative sculptures that speak not only of the artist’s Native American roots, but also to his time spent with the vibrant creative community on New
York City’s Lower East Side. Kahlhamer began the series in 1985 during a series
of fishing trips to the Hudson River Valley, cobbling the doll-like sculptures together out of detritus such as wire, fabric, and rubber found in a local basement workshop. The collection gradually expanded over the ensuing years, and in 2012 the artist decided to bring the works together on a large table-like construction that resembles the form of the Pow Wow float, the celebratory vehicle that is featured in Pow Wow parades on Native reservations in the American West. Although specific elements of Bowery Nation pointedly reference the katsina doll and other Native American art forms, such as spirit catchers, the work equally reflects Kahlhamer’s early career as a cartoonist and the multicultural milieu of the Bowery, where he has lived since 1990.

A consistent thread in Kahlhamer’s work is identity, or rather the juggling of a tripartite identity: his Native-American heritage, his formative years being raised in a middle-class, German-American family (he was adopted as an infant),
and his adulthood in New York’s burgeoning art world of the 1980s and early 90s. Kahlhamer eschews the stereotypical role of Indian as spiritual being, attuned to and more a part of nature, but his art consistently exhibits a spiritual longing and is frequently touched by the animism found in traditional cultures. Firmly grounded in contemporary existential angst, Kahlhamer’s homesickness is as much American as American Indian, reflecting the restlessness (and rootlessness) that has characterized much of American identity.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Bowery Nation is accompanied by a wall work made by the artist that narrates the cosmology of his alternative tribe, as well as by the Bowery Nation lounge with reading materials relating to Kahlhamer’s work, katsinas, Native American culture, and New York’s Lower East Side.

Brad Kahlhamer: Bowery Nation is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

Wendell Castle

Wandering Forms — Works from 1959–1979

October 19, 2012, to February 24, 2013

“My furniture goes against the mainstream of twentieth-century design.
I have no special interest in form following function. I try in my work to fulfill both the aesthetic and the practical purpose, but if one were to become dominant I would choose the aesthetic. (To be inventive and playful and produce furniture which is a complement to nature, rather than in contrast to it is my philosophy. My idea is not to reconstruct or stylize natural forms, but to produce a synthesis or metamorphosis of natural forms.)”

—Wendell Castle artist statement in the exhibition catalogue for Fantasy Furniture, held at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts of the American Craftsmen’s Council, New York, January 21–March 13, 1966

Celebrated American designer/craftsman Wendell Castle (b. 1932) has been creating unique pieces of handmade sculpture and furniture for over five decades. Castle, who has consistently challenged the traditional boundaries of functional design since the outset of his career, was instrumental in helping to shape the American studio furniture movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He remains one of the most important American furniture makers working today.

The pieces in this exhibition were chosen for their significance within Castle’s oeuvre, but also for the narrative they tell about his work and its relationship to the current environment for art and design. Almost all of them were hailed as revolutionary in changing the way we look at furniture and had an undeniable, though rarely explicitly recognized, influence on generations of artists and designers around the world. Together, these works tell the story of how Castle nimbly combined art, craft, and design, presenting a definitive study of his strong artistic vision.

Curated by Evan Snyderman and Alyson Baker

Erik Parker

Too Mad to Be Scared

July 15, 2012, to February 24, 2013

The Aldrich’s exhibition of the work of Erik Parker focuses on his lyrical maps, which present and document a timely, poignant, and thoroughly critical overview of the obscure socio-political and economic dynamics of the United States. As he condemns the status quo and reconsiders conspiracy theories, Parker condenses his narratives in tight word clusters, engulfed by cartoony looking visceral shapes. On occasion, he uses the template of the United States map to spell out the dynamics of the counter-culture, underground, and marginalized communities. This “finally puts them on the US map,” he explains, transforming the American territory into one of inclusion for those generally excluded and providing an alternative perspective on the country. Parker’s work is an attempt to illustrate his overall take on the most pressing issues of the day through aggressively youthful and rebellious fast-paced mark-making, compositional intensity, strident colors, and an anti-authoritarian approach to established ideologies. As Parker comments on our times and what he considers to be distortions of everyday reality, he does so through vivid spectacles filled with humor and wit, in the hope that his work will form the basis for a colorful art of resistance.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Erik Parker: Too Mad to Be Scared is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, and Hank Willis Thomas, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

Brian Knep

Deep Wounds

July 15, 2012, to February 24, 2013

In 2006, Brian Knep was invited to produce a work for Harvard University following
a year-long residency. The artist chose as his location Memorial Hall, a building
erected in the 1870s in remembrance of Harvard students who died in defense of
the Union during the Civil War. The artist was initially attracted to the Hall because of its spectacular stained glass, but as he looked into the history of the building—and eventually of the Civil War itself—his interest in the formal qualities of the edifice began to fade and the profound legacy of the war itself became his subject matter.

Knep was struck by Harvard’s lack of acknowledgment of its more than seventy graduates who fought and died for the Confederacy, pointing to a schism so deep that it still affects the American psyche. His work has consistently dealt with technology that mimics biological processes—particularly healing—so he created an interactive video installation, Deep Wounds, which was on view in Memorial Hall for just three weeks. The artist has reconfigured the installation for The Aldrich to coincide with not only the Museum’s united states series of exhibitions, but also the 150th anniversary of the Civil War itself (1861–65).

Deep Wounds consists of luminous “skins” containing faint hints of text projected on large rectangles of marble floor tiles. Viewers who walk across the projections find that their passing disrupts the semi-transparent skins, in so doing revealing the forgotten Confederate Harvard alumni—identified not by name, but rather by their year of graduation, human relationship (“father,” “son,” “classmate,” “brother,” “husband”),
their state of birth, the final battle and date of their death. The viewer passes over the disrupted projections of the skins close up, once again obscuring the text. Knep’s custom software computes algorithms for biological pattern formations to generate the interactive “wounding” and “healing” that animates the work’s luminous projections.

The Civil War is still a wound on the fabric of this country, with trauma reflected into the present day in the Red State/Blue State divide that informs both American politics and cultural life. The situation at Memorial Hall gave Knep a basis for expanding his interest in healing from the microcosm of biological systems to the macrocosm of human society. Deep Wounds engages not just the legacy of the Civil War, but also the difficult processes of reconciliation that exist following all human conflict.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Brian Knep: Deep Wounds is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brody Condon, Brad Kahlhamer, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

Brody Condon

To prove her zeal one woman ate mud.

July 15, 2012, to February 24, 2013

Brody Condon’s work often addresses the over-identification with fantasy prevalent in American culture. With that in mind, Condon designs performances that utilize live action role-playing techniques whereby he creates and populates temporary communes. While living at the fictionalized site, the group critically explores these issues in an experiential manner. For his exhibitions, Condon records on video these unscripted and often disorienting interactions, documenting them in an ethnographic style.

To prove her zeal one woman ate mud. was a small, week-long communal situation conceived specifically for this project, located inside a seven-story mill tower and nearby farm in the town of Wassaic, New York. The process combined elements from unorthodox 1940s American monastic communities, group encounter techniques such as Gestalt Therapy, and contemporary science fiction. Imagining themselves inhabiting an ecologically sustainable space station, the characters engaged in daily group therapy sessions led by an elusive artificial intelligence embodied by an abstract sculpture, which the artist inserted into
the action as a non-human player. The video projection on view at The Aldrich presents the artist’s documentation of this fictional world, while the second video makes public for the first time Condon’s collaborative performance workshop procedures and process.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, curator

Brody Condon: To prove her zeal one woman ate mud. is part of united states, a semester of solo exhibitions and artist’s projects that approach both the nature of the United States as a country and “united states” as the notion of uniting separate forms, entities, or conditions of being. Timed to coincide with the 2012 American election season, united states also includes solo exhibitions by Pedro Barbeito, Jonathan Brand, Brad Kahlhamer, Brian Knep, Erik Parker, and Hank Willis Thomas, and projects by Jane Benson, Alison Crocetta, Celeste Fichter, Erika Harrsch, Nina Katchadourian, Matthew Northridge, Risa Puno, John Stoney, Sui Jianguo, Frances Trombly, Rosemary Williams, and Jenny Yurshanksy.

How Art Changed the Prison

The Work of the CPA Prison Arts Program

January 27, 2019, to May 27, 2019

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of visual art made in Connecticut’s correctional institutions over the past three decades, borrowed from current and former inmates, private collections, including that of the curator, and from the permanent collection of the Prison Arts Program, which is part of Community Partners in Action (CPA), a non-profit that focuses on behavioral change of both current and past inmates of Connecticut’s prison system, in addition to advocating for criminal justice reform. Organized by Jeffrey Greene, who has been with the program for twenty-seven years, the exhibition will include the work of approximately twenty-eight artists, including Edward Schanck (Willard- Cybulski Correctional Institution, Enfield); John Jay Arnold (released); Mark Despres (Osborn CI, Somers); Veronica May Clark (Garner CI, Newtown); Nicholas Palumbo (Osborn, CI); Ross VonWeingarten (released); Ryan Carpenter (Brooklyn CI, Brooklyn, CT); Luis Norberto Martinez (Osborn, CI), and June Seger (York CI, Niantic).

Connecticut’s Prison Arts Program is unique due to Greene’s radical approach that rejects art as an activity pursued through academic exercises, but rather an expansive and integrative pursuit that focuses on giving voice to inner worlds and personal histories, and the belief that learning and growth are primarily achieved by the making of art, not by learning technique.

“The inmates in the program stop thinking of an artist as someone they could become, but someone that they could draw out of themselves,” states Greene. “They stop thinking of art as something in the center of a piece of paper, but rather something that could span from their cell to the moon. In the oppressive environment of the prison they need something that they control; they need to express and confirm that they are still themselves; they need to send out into the world something that states their wish to love and be loved. They have every reason to make art.”

The majority of the work on view was made in the artists’ cells using materials that require minimal workspace, dry quickly, and can be stored immediately, such as ballpoint pen, graphite, and colored pencil. Several artists use more traditional prison art media including toilet paper, cut and folded paper, magazines, ramen noodle packaging, thread, yarn, floor wax, Q-tips, and soap. Often these works involve hundreds of hours of rigorous focus. The artists’ work reflects their ever-changing and complicated lives within the prison system affected by cellmates, prison blocks/units, prison transfers, prison staff, access to materials, access to workshops, colleagues, critiques, as well as mental and physical health. How Art Changed the Prison offers a glimpse at art’s role in the lives of people in Connecticut’s prison system.

Jeffrey Greene is an artist, musician, and curator. Besides managing CPA’s Prison Arts Program he has created collaborative arts projects in SROs (Single Room Occupancy residences) for the formerly homeless in New York City, and in Connecticut’s halfway houses with returning inmates. His audio project, Affordable Future, was part of the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for the New City in 2011. That same year he co-curated the landmark exhibition Transeuphoria, at Umbrella Arts Gallery in Manhattan, focusing on the work of transgender artists. As a musician, he helped lead the band The Butterflies of Love to momentary fame in the UK and currently fronts Famous Problems, a group that has just released its first album on Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records in London.

Sara Cwynar

Sara Cwynar

June 9, 2019, to November 10, 2019

Sara Cwynar, Cover Girl, 2018, 16 mm film on video with sound, 9 min. 17 sec., edition of 3 with 2 AP. Courtesy the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto and Foxy Production, New York
Sara Cwynar, Cover Girl, 2018, 16 mm film on video with sound, 9 min. 17 sec., edition of 3 with 2 AP. Courtesy the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto and Foxy Production, New York

N. Dash

N. Dash

March 3, 2019, to September 15, 2019

N. Dash, Untitled, 2017; Adobe, string, styrofoam, jute and wood and aluminum support; Image courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York
N. Dash, Untitled, 2017, adobe, string, styrofoam, jute and wood and aluminum support.
Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York

Harmony Hammond

Material Witness, Five Decades of Art

March 3, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Harmony Hammond, Bandaged Grid #1, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York
Harmony Hammond, Bandaged Grid #1, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York
© 2018 Harmony Hammond / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present the first museum survey of the work of the trailblazing artist, feminist and lesbian scholar, curator, activist, and author Harmony Hammond. Spanning almost fifty years, 1971 to 2018, the exhibition will bring together her earliest painted sculptures and sculpted paintings, mixed-media and monumental “installational” paintings of the 1980’s and 1990’s, and recent thickly painted “near monochromes,” as well as works on paper, ephemera, and publications. Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art will be on view at The Aldrich from March 3 to September 15, 2019.

For five decades, Hammond has created an inimitable approach that unites Minimalist and Postminimalist concerns—the grid, repetition, an engagement with materials, process, and site-activation—with feminist art strategies. In doing so, she recovers marginalized craft traditions that combine abstraction with a wide cast of materials: those that are scavenged and imbued with redolent stories like fabric, burlap, rope, straw, leaves, roots, pine needles, dirt, hair, blood, bone, linoleum, metal roofing, burnt wood, and grommets; and those that are traditional such as oil and acrylic paint, graphite, watercolor, latex rubber, and bronze. Through her use of primarily additive and connective processes, Hammond has created a network of meaning that “presences the body.” Her surfaces are expressive, skins endowed with fleshly textures, marks, and appendages. They exude a toughness, an imperative energy, predicated on performative muscular procedures of production such as ripping, tying, wrapping, binding, braiding, puncturing, strapping, and patching, resulting in surfaces and forms infused with social implications.

Harmony Hammond (b. 1944) was a prominent figure in the development of the feminist art movement in New York in the early 1970s. Besides her being a co-founder of A.I.R. and the journal HERESIES: A Feminist Publication of Art & Politics (1976), she is the author of Wrappings: Essays on Feminism, Art, and the Martial Arts (TSL Press, 1984), considered to be a seminal publication of 1970s feminist art; her groundbreaking book Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History (Rizzoli, 2000) received a Lambda Literary Award. Hammond attended the University of Minnesota from 1963 to 1967, and moved to New York City in 1969. Since 1984, she has lived and worked in New Mexico, teaching at the University of Arizona, Tucson, from 1989 to 2006. In 2013, Hammond was honored with the College Art Association’s Distinguished Feminist Award. Her work has been exhibited at institutions nationally and internationally.

A full-color scholarly publication, with an essay by Amy Smith-Stewart, will be available during the exhibition. This book will be the first hardcover monograph of Hammond’s work.

Helena Hernmarck

Weaving In Progress

October 14, 2018, to January 19, 2019

Helena Hernmarck’s studio in Ridgefield, CT
Helena Hernmarck’s studio in Ridgefield, CT


The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Helena Hernmarck: Weaving In Progress, organized by The Aldrich’s interim co-director Richard Klein. In addition to exhibiting a selection of her work, Hernmarck, one of the most important contemporary figures in the evolving history of woven tapestries, will be in residence at the Museum from October 14, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

Hernmarck began her career in the 1960s during an explosion of interest in fiber arts. Her innovations over the ensuing years are unsurpassed in visual imagery and technical innovation. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Hernmarck focused her practice on the pictorial, rather than sculptural form and abstraction. Influenced by pop culture, her mature style evolved into the creation of often-monumental tapestries that exhibit complex illusionary space and diverse subject matter, including trompe l’oeil, landscape, still life, and the human figure. Her primary technique, a discontinuous plain weave on top of which she hand picks a supplementary pattern weft, resembles computer pixels, enabling Hernmarck to produce images that expand the use of photographic imagery into territory that is both abstract and realistic.

During Weaving in Progress, the gallery space will not only exhibit a selection of tapestries, but also function as a weaving studio. Three days a week, Hernmarck, and her apprentice Mae Colburn, will be working at the artist’s five-foot-wide Glimåkra Countermarch loom. An inventory of the wool used in the process will be on view, along with a display of materials from the artist’s archive, including photographs, watercolors, drawings, prototype samples, and other ephemera that illustrate and inform Hernmarck’s process and the evolution of her career. The majority of the wool used in the tapestries is spun to her specifications at a family-run spinning mill in Sweden, and hand-dyed to reflect her color sensibilities. Visitors may touch and pick up the skeins of wool, amplifying the material nature of tapestry production.

Weaving In Progress is the first solo exhibition of Hernmarck’s work in the United States since 2012 and will present twenty tapestries. Many of the works will be hung from the ceiling, so visitors can experience the complex three-dimensionality of her weaving technique, and the unusual materials she sometimes uses, such as leftover sequin material. The exhibition will transform the Museum from a place of looking to a place of making, where the physicality of fiber is amplified by the presence of the artist’s hand. The sound of the loom’s beater being sharply pulled to compress each row of weft will fill the space and the evolving progress of the tapestry will encourage repeat visitation.

Helena Hernmarck was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1941. She lives and works in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Upcoming residency dates (2018-2019):

October: 15, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26

November: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30

December: 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29

January: 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication with essays by Richard Klein and Mae Colburn will be available during the exhibition.

Generous support for Helena Hernmarck: Weaving In Progress is provided by The Coby Foundation and Eric G. Diefenbach and James Keith Brown.

Risa Puno

Common Ground

June 15, 2018, to November 1, 2018

Risa Puno, Common Ground, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.


​Thanks to the many supporters of our first Kickstarter campaign, Risa Puno’s Common Ground was transported from Queens to Ridgefield and reinstalled in our Sculpture Garden!

Common Ground is an interactive sculpture created by New York City-based artist and Aldrich alumna Risa Puno that celebrates harmony and inclusion through diversity. Puno’s work is a grid of connected tables and benches that are each tiled with a different mosaic design. Originally commissioned by the NYC Parks and Recreation Department as part of the Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant for Rufus King Park in Jamaica, Queens, the designs were inspired by the surrounding neighborhood’s unique mix of cultures and iconic architecture.

Risa Puno makes interactive sculptures and installations that put a playful twist on familiar pastimes and amusements. She investigates the language of communal objects and spaces, and builds works that changes how we think about, and define, community. Whether she’s building jungle gyms, mazes, golf courses, or benches, Puno creates points of access that allow participants to feel nostalgia, desire, competition, comfort, or even frustration. The key to understanding her work is to physically engage with it —to use it, play with it, touch it, and sometimes even smell or taste it. While she makes every effort to craft objects that are beautiful and alluring, her main objective is to create evocative and memorable experiences for the people who use them.

Membership Level

Library

$100

$100 ($85 tax deductible)

Library Benefits include:

• Two all-access membership cards which allows free gallery admission for up to five (5) adults per card to The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Card must be presented for admission. Children under 13 always enter free.

*If an event is taking place and advertised as being “free with the price of admission,” pass-holders can enter that event at no additional charge. Please note that the cards cannot be used in combination with any other offers or for admission to members-only events that require a non-member to pay a fee. Cards are valid at The Aldrich Museum only, may not be used for admission to reciprocal partner museums.

If you prefer, please mail a check made payable to The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 258 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877. For further assistance, contact Kris Honeycutt, Head of Membership and Annual Giving, at khoneycutt@aldrichart.org, or 203.438.4519 x125.

Main Street Video

Main Street Video

“Old Hundred” at The Aldrich
Free admission

Stop into the Museum’s new video gallery on Main Street and view the engaging line-up of short video works by some of the most exciting artists working in this medium today. Suitable for all ages and audiences, these visually captivating, funny, and provocative videos will delight and inspire!

June 24 to July 15: Marina Zurkow

The Thirsty Bird, 2012
Video, black and white, silent, media player, screen or projector
Dimensions variable, horizontal orientation
5 min 12 sec, loop
Edition of 5, 2 AP
Animation assistance Lindsay Nordell
Courtesy of the artist and bitforms, New York

The movement of an oil pump jack (known colloquially as a “thirsty bird”), and a public water fountain are synchronized in a transitory dance. As the pump pulls oil upward, the water fountain spurts water. An array of archetypal individuals—cowboys and Indians, a father and his son, a county sheriff, a cow, a soldier, a girl with her dog—emerge in endless succession to drink from the fountain. The graphic treatment is based on Gerd Arntz’s (1900-1988) ISOTYPE (International System Of Typographic Picture Education) figures, developed with Viennese social scientist and philosopher Otto Neurath (1882-1945) as a means for displaying visual statistics.

Marina Zurkow was born in 1962 in New York City, where she lives and works.

July 16 to August 5: Jillian Mayer

You’ll Be Okay, 2013
Video, color, sound; 4:00 minutes loop

Make-Up Tutorial HOW TO HIDE FROM CAMERAS, 2013
Video, color, sound; 3:36 minutes

Promo Model for Hire, 2012
Video, color, sound; 2:00 minutes

We As Me, 2011
Video, color, sound; 1:33 minutes

All work courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami

Jillian Mayer is an artist and filmmaker. Her artistic practice spans video, performance, installation, and sculpture, and is steeped in the coded lexicon of our hyperkinetic post-Internet era. Informed by sitcoms, infomercials, reality TV, YouTube, touchscreens, and augmented and virtual communities, Mayer’s videos, in which she almost always “stars,” use humor and parody to probe the tenuous interconnectedness of tangible and simulated realms.

Jillian Mayer was born in 1986 in Miami, Florida, where she lives and works.

August 6 to 26: Bigert & Bergström

Moments of Silence, 2014
Digital cinema package; 14 minutes
Courtesy of the artists

At certain times, dates, and places, pedestrians halt, traffic stops and silence ensues. For just a moment, generally counted in minutes, the world is a frozen arrow pointing at the thought of something important, so important that it should never be forgotten. As a meditative memento on the importance of a collective memory, the Swedish artists Bigert & Bergström have compiled a series of these moments into a film. Together these sampled minutes of silence reflect one of few activities that bring people together regardless of religion, race, or cultural background. The archival material outlines a mute history of tragedy and grief, often staged against a backdrop of natural disasters and violent conflict. But the footage is also a reminder of the stoic nature of humans, never accepting the horrors of terror attacks, war, or rogue killers.

Mats Bigert was born in 1965 in Stockholm, Sweden. Lars Bergström was born in 1962 in Stockholm, Sweden. Bigert & Berström live and work in Stockholm, Sweden.

August 27 to September 16: Rhys Coren

SNAP!, 2017
Single channel animated video with sound; 5:31 minutes

smile!, 2018
Single channel video, looped animation

Love Motion, 2018
Single channel animated video with sound; 5:40 minutes

All work courtesy of the artist and Seventeen, London

Rhys Coren’s practice spans animation, writing, performance, and painted marquetry. His short, looping, animated works are notable for a contagious use
of color and a rhythmic, pulsating composition. Coren’s methodology in the studio is directly informed by his deep interest in music, specifically the infective and improvised seamless tracks of jazz and electronica.

Rhys Coren was born in 1983 in Plymouth, United Kingdom; he lives and works in London, United Kingdom.


Organized by Richard Klein, interim co-director, and Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

The Domestic Plane

New Perspectives On Tabletop Art Objects

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, a meta-group exhibition in five chapters—organized by five curators, including more than seventy artists—that will feature tabletop art objects from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The experience could be likened to theatre, as viewers encounter objects that interact with each other, their audience, their setting, forging relationships to be examined and meanings to be discovered in their adventurous methods of display. The Domestic Plane will be on view at The Aldrich from May 20, 2018 to January 13, 2019.

Objects Like Us includes the work of more than fifty artists, including Robert Arneson, Mary Bauermeister, Genesis Belanger, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Christian Holstad, Tetsumi Kudo, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Alice Mackler, Sheila Pepe, Vanessa Safavi, Katy Schimert, Rudy Shepherd, Francis Upritchard, and Nari Ward. This chapter explores the relational behavior of intimately scaled objects that personify or embody a human condition or attribute that transmits a performative potentiality, aura, or beingness. The objects will span nearly sixty years, including works conceived specifically for the exhibition (2017‒18). Artist/curator David Adamo will create a site-specific floor installation comprised of white school chalk laid out in a herringbone pattern to mimic antique parquet; over time the chalk will crack and crumble, tracing the viewers’ movements. The overall experience will underscore the efficacy of the works’ relativity and illuminate the interconnectedness of audience and objects. Objects Like Us is organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator at The Aldrich, and David Adamo.

For Kitchen Arrangement, a site-specific commission, Jessi Reaves will create a kitchen with interactive furniture and objects, such as seating, cabinetry, appliances, and lighting. This exhibition will offer an immersive experience that is an expression of the home’s primal epicenter: a social space essential to living and an area full of relational potentiality. Jessi Reaves: Kitchen Arrangement is organized by Amy Smith-Stewart and David Adamo.

On Edge considers the table as territory: its inherent boundaries, and relationship with gravity. Paul Bowen, Melvin Edwards, Michael Rees, Arlene Shechet, Venske & Spänle, and Leslie Wayne will respond to the table’s periphery with new works that reveal the edge as a site where limits are both reinforced and tested, and where safety and danger coexist. On Edge also includes tabletop sculpture by Anthony Caro (1924-2013), with the installation utilizing iconic modernist tables by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson generously provided by Design Within Reach. On Edge is organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director at The Aldrich.

Organized in the anyone-can-be-a-natural-philosopher spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, Almost Everything On The Table, an installation of epistemological apparatuses conceived by artist Tucker Nichols answers questions propounded by curator Dakin Hart. Exploring the enterprise of curiosity that has produced the most absurd and ennobling understandings of man, this exhibition shows that with the right tools, you can hold infinity in the palm of your hand. Almost Everything On The Table is organized by Dakin Hart, senior curator, The Noguchi Museum.

Seeking questions rather than answers, Handheld will chart artists’, designers’, and makers’ various responses to objects scaled to the hand. This chapter will take a multifarious approach—the hand as means of creation, a formal frame of reference, and for the viewer, a source of both delight and tension as they experience sensual objects in familiar domestic forms, scaled for touch, that can be looked upon but not felt. With exhibition design by Jonathan Muecke, Handheld features work by Alma Allen, Aldo Bakker, Kathy Butterly, David Clarke, Iris Eichenberg, Laura Fischer, Jennifer Lee, Shari Mendelson, Ron Nagle, Kay Sekimachi, Bob Stockdale, Christopher Taylor, Anne Wilson, Thaddeus Wolfe, and Shinya Yamamura. Handheld is organized by Elizabeth Essner, independent curator.

The noted graphic novelist, illustrator, and animator, Richard McGuire, will be contributing an eight-page project to the exhibition publication consisting of sequential grids of 128 small line drawings depicting the interrelationship of a cast of small objects. My Things will bring a non-verbal interlude to the book, suggesting to the reader that common objects are pregnant with meaning and possibilities. McGuire will also be presenting an installation of new objects, The Way There and Back, in the Museum’s Screening Room.

Richard McGuire

The Way There and Back

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

​The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to debut two projects by Richard McGuire, The Way There and Back, a site-specific installation of all new objects, and My Things, a specially commissioned book project to be published in Fall 2018. Richard McGuire: The Way There and Back is organized by The Aldrich’s curator Amy Smith-Stewart, and will be on view at the Museum from May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

The Way There and Back presents an installation of just over a hundred objects, each one an abstracted sculptural evocation of a shoe. Each object, made of wood, plaster, or aqua resin, evokes a specific fashion, desire, functionality, and personality—high heels, loafers, disco-era platforms, sandals, and sneakers, all corresponding with McGuire’s personal long-standing conversation with New York City’s culture and history. The objects will be staged along a shelf of varying depth around the perimeter of the Museum’s Screening Room and circle the gallery in a way that imparts a time-line installation. Mimicking the cacophony of the street—the uniformity of waiting lines, the glamour of then runway, and the theatricality of the stage—viewers are surrounded by a parade of objects that together form charismatic tableaux. McGuire’s many influences include Claes Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum/RayGun Wing, Philip Guston’s paintings of cartoonish shoe piles, and Giorgio Morandi’s jars and bottles.

My Things depicts the complex interrelationship of a cast of small objects encountered by McGuire in a single day, presented in sequential grids of small line drawings. The ten-page commission will appear in the publication made on the occasion of The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, an exhibition in five chapters—organized by five curators and including more than seventy artists—featuring tabletop art objects from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Richard McGuire (b. 1957) is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Morgan Library & Museum. He is the author of the award winning graphic novel Here (2014). His illustrations appear regularly in The New Yorker. He is also a founding member and the bass player for the post-punk band Liquid Liquid.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Generous funding for the accompanying publication, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip and Shelley Fox Aarons.

Robert Longo

The Capitol Project

March 24, 2013, to August 25, 2013

​Robert Longo’s artworks represent diverse fragments, contained within as well as sprung from a restlessly circulated and widely shared image-archive; surrogated archetypes of war, revolt, beauty, love, sex, power, religion, politics, culture, transgression, and subjugation.

Two groups of eighty-one studies—The Essentials (2000–08) and The Mysteries (2009–13)—hang on opposing walls of the Leir Atrium. A non-linear, grand narrative that hinges on the confluence of becoming and extinction, the artist refers to The Essentials as his creation myth, complete with a libidinal universe and its Godhead: the galaxy, sleeping children, sharks, roses, waves, bombs,
and the interior of Sigmund Freud’s apartment one day before he fled the Nazis. Once this universe was complete, Longo relinquished his control. Icons of politics, pop culture and sports, symbols of Americana, impossible landscapes, tools for aggression, and objects of desire comprise The Mysteries, drawings of a populace left to roam, replicate, and self destruct.

Proceeding upstairs to South Gallery, Capitol (2013), an immense seven-panel drawing of the US Capitol Building, hangs alone on the longest wall, its placement and dimension reminiscent of a cinema screen. The drawing’s compositional perspective and the minimal yet dramatic illumination of the artwork signal a durational effect, suggesting that like the building itself, Capitol is watched as well as seen. A drawing, a screen, a surface, it projects meaning but is also projected upon, a spectacular event preceded by the atomized storyboard of studies.

Juxtaposing the singular Capitol against the multitude of studies speaks to
the play of dualities and contradictions pervading Longo’s work; the flow of information between one and many, and the exchange between intensely
private and universally relevant experiences. His subjects are forms meaningless
in themselves, yet derivative of something powerful and hidden. Capitol, The Essentials, The Mysteries, are all drawn from the infinite database available in the post-digital age, which has, paradoxically, created a deposit of infinitely repetitious data—a shared archive of images that rhythmically gather critical mass and then explode, circulate, and replicate. The Capitol Project proposes that the artworks which comprise the exhibition have always existed. Longo is an observant chooser, who lifts and presents from the collective image-unconscious, exposing the shared desires, fears, hopes, and losses that give shape to the world we live in.

Kelly Taxter, curator

Harry Dodge

MEATY BEATY BIG AND BOUNCY

March 24, 2013, to May 26, 2013

​Transitive states, simultaneous multiplicities, and the trouble with (or the troubling of) definition are central concerns in Harry Dodge’s interdisciplinary practice. Continental philosophy, stand-up comedy, the politics of representation (what can be, and is “represented”), natural science, and queer theory constitute the spasmodic mix of conventions, influences, and obsessions that inform MEATY BEATY BIG AND BOUNCY, an exhibition that, as its title suggests, communicates weighty ideas betwixt and between buoyantly fleshy drawings, sculptures, and videos.

The two videos Unkillable (2012), presented in the Camera Obscura, and THE ASS AND THE LAP DOG, presented in the Sound Gallery, physically bracket the profusion of drawings and sculptures installed across the floor and walls of the Opatrny Gallery. Dodge’s narratives create purposefully unstable situations; the videos jump from the real to the surreal, and act as a catalyst for fluidity, wherein protagonist, antagonist, audience, main plot, sub-plot, and script ceaselessly meander, intertwine, and flip around. Artist, performers, and viewer are interwoven points of origin and departure in his intricately folded and contoured stories.

A predilection for fluidity over fixity also pervades the sculptures. Everything Shouts Together (2013) has an overall figurative affect, containing hard and soft edges, locked as well as flexible appendages, and elements which signify solids and
liquids. This sculpture, like all those on view, is resolutely non-binary; it presents a (complicated) situation of flux, a renegotiation of the available options. The variously sized drawings on paper, canvas, and board, which complete the exhibition’s trilogy of media, puzzle through the space between presence and absence, the named and the undefined, and investigate the contours of that which defies categorization— what may not be visible or valued, but is present nevertheless, often hovering at the threshold of what can be seen.

A threshold, like an edge, is both within and without, a rim over which contents spill, a boundary (of nature, the body, the mind) whose apparent limits can be pushed, tested, and potentially transgressed. The gaps produced by the videos, the elements of flux and flow in the sculptures, and the hybrid space of the drawings, are each transitive zones that Dodge beckons the viewer into—indeterminate spaces that allow us, for however long we can bear it, to be more than the sum of our parts.

Kelly Taxter, curator

Jane South

Floor/Ceiling

March 24, 2013, to August 25, 2013

​”Waiting for Godot . . . has achieved a theoretical impossibility—a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps the audience glued to their seats. What’s more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, he has written a play in which nothing happens, twice.” *

This quote, from Irish theater critic Vivian Mercier’s 1956 review of Samuel Beckett’s famous play, has quietly engaged artist Jane South’s imagination
for many years. Her interest in Mercier’s review is extremely pertinent to the understanding of Floor/Ceiling, the artist’s largest and most ambitious installation to date, and her first to incorporate lighting. South’s work has consistently been informed by her early years in the world of theater set design, particularly the period she spent in the late 1980s working with a company in London that focused almost exclusively on the plays of Beckett. This history has come full circle in the realization of Floor/Ceiling, a work that has two distinctly different acts: the view looking up from the Museum’s ground floor Project Space and the view looking down from the second floor Balcony Gallery.

South’s large-scale works are notable due to being made almost entirely out of painted, cut, and glued paper. Their façade-like character relates to the constructed and temporary nature of the environment of the theater, but Floor/Ceiling doesn’t really recall a stage set as much as something one shouldn’t focus on while attending a performance: the loft above the stage and audience.

The superstructure of Floor/Ceiling is fabricated out of wood, CNC milled particleboard, and steel cable. Like the lighting grid above a stage, the structural components are fairly matter-of-fact, while the attached paper elements are reminiscent
of many things, but resemble nothing in particular. South’s paper objects may evoke the steely geometry of things that are industrially-made, but their decidedly handmade character humanizes them in a subtle and quirky manner.

Floor/Ceiling is not interactive in any traditional sense, but viewers, depending on their location in relation to South’s circular “stage,” might find themselves cast in the roles of actor, stagehand, or audience member.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

*Italics added to the end of the quotation by the artist

Dan Miller and Judith Scott

Creative Growth

March 24, 2013, to August 25, 2013

​The Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA, was founded in 1972 and serves a community of mentally, developmentally, and physically disabled adult artists. Writing in 2006, critic James Trainor observed that “Creative Growth isn’t a hospital, a clinic or even a school in the strictest sense. No formal instruction is given, and there are no theoretical programs about how to educate the autistic or schizophrenic. What it is is an experiment, rooted in distinctly northern California ideas about grassroots involvement, collective creativity and social change, about giving disenfranchised people the tools, space and support to express themselves.”

Judith Scott was born with Down syndrome. In 1987, after years of living in isolation, she was introduced to Creative Growth, where for the remaining eighteen years of her life she created highly idiosyncratic objects: organic structures assembled from found materials that challenge—and actively resist—our attempts to rationalize them as sculpture. Working intuitively, and without any apparent influences or precedents, Scott’s cocoon-like structures are of startling complexity and provoke an almost endless set of formal and psychological associations.

Diagnosed with autism, Dan Miller has worked at Creative Growth for more than fifteen years. He has developed an evolving body of work that employs language
as its fundamental subject and departure-point. His drawings take the form of accumulations of written descriptive texts and numerical sequences. Layered on top of one another, these individual words and numbers start to merge, creating all-over fields of obscured and often illegible texts. Juxtaposing formal methodologies with dynamic, yet highly disciplined mark-making, Miller’s works intuitively combine both conceptual and expressive approaches, to create a distinct hybrid form.

The work of Judith Scott and Dan Miller is rooted in what might be thought
of as an expanded field of “drawing.” Central to their respective approaches
is an engagement with the everyday and the commonplace, evidenced in
their choices of materials and subject matter, which is amplified through their respective processes of accumulation, the act of creating multiple layers in their work: a scenario which paradoxically serves to both elucidate and obscure the artists’ intentions.

Matthew Higgs, curator

Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950

March 24, 2013, to August 25, 2013

Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950: Rita Ackermann, Bill Adams,
Alighiero Boetti, Dawn Clements,
Russell Crotty, Jan Fabre, Alberto Giacometti, Joanne Greenbaum, Martin Kippenberger, Il Lee, and Toyin Odutola

Conceived at the end of the nineteenth century, perfected in the 1930s,
and popularized after World War II, the ballpoint pen has become an indispensable part of everyday life. Although it is the most prevalent tool used for handwriting, art does not immediately come to mind when one thinks of the pen. In fact, the general consensus that the ballpoint pen contributed to a decline in the craft of handwriting suggests that any marks made with it are intrinsically sloppy and unskilled.

The ballpoint has slowly been adopted by artists since 1950, with a startling increase in its use over the past three decades. This exhibition and its accompanying publication bring together the work of eleven artists who have done extensive work with the pen, disproving the view that the ballpoint
does not have aesthetic potential and that its range is limited. Artists have been attracted to the pen for many reasons, including the effortless drawing speed afforded by its nature, its ability to make an almost endless line without stopping, its pedestrian and “low art” pedigree, its intimate relationship with both handwriting and doodling, and the unique color and quality of its ink (ballpoint ink dries almost instantaneously).

For those born after the beginning of the 1950s, the ballpoint is ubiquitous; a reality that is ever present and practically invisible. For many artists, this state of affairs has created a situation where the ballpoint has become
the vernacular go-to tool, which despite its supposedly limited nature can be coaxed into performing a seemingly unlimited range of aesthetic roles, becoming in many ways the pencil of our era.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Legacy

Photographs from the Emily Fisher Landau Collection

June 8, 2013, to September 2, 2013

​Legacy: Photographs from the Emily Fisher Landau Collection features a notable selection of photographs drawn exclusively from the collection of works gifted to the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2010 by New York philanthropist and art collector, Emily Fisher Landau. Working in collaboration with the Whitney Museum, The Aldrich’s exhibition – the second stop of a six-city tour – showcases twenty photographs by seventeen artists, including works by Nan Goldin, Kiki Smith, and Robert Mapplethorpe, along with Aldrich alumni artists Robert Artschwager and Robert Longo, to name a few. Individually, the photographs call attention to the versatility of a medium that can be used in a myriad of experimental and surprising ways; collectively, the pieces are representative of an era of increased photography production in the art world – particularly between 1980 and 2004, when all of the works were made. Many of the photographs on view directly relate to the Museum’s camera obscura, illuminating the link between the contemporary and the history of photography.

Legacy: Photography from The Emily Fisher Landau Collection is organized in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art and is co-curated at The Aldrich by Richard Klein and Alyson Baker.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Connecticut Office of the Arts and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.

Amelie Chabannes

Double Portraits and a Fourth Hand

March 24, 2013, to August 25, 2013

​In 2009, Amelie Chabannes began working with identity as a subject, not via the usual autobiographical route, but rather through combining an objective interest in philosophy, psychology, and art history. For her new site-specific project at The Aldrich, she has created three wall drawings that engage not only with these subjects, but also with the concept of iconoclasm: the willful destruction of imagery—used here by Chabannes as a technique to challenge and transform the work of her artistic predecessors. Two of the drawings are based on iconic photographs of performances by artists Marina Abramovic ́ and Ulay, while one is based on an image of the seminal 1970 performance Singing Sculpture by the duo Gilbert & George.

Chabannes was attracted to these figures because of their attempts to merge two personalities into one identity, what is referred to in psychology as “fusion.” Defined as the desire of two individuals to become one, which is most commonly manifested by the popular romantic notion of “two halves make a whole,” fusion is fueled by the belief—both conscious and unconscious— that bliss is achieved through unity. Yet if fusion is taken to an extreme, the result can be the pathology of damaging dependency, or an attempt at a kind of liberation.

Using archeological procedures as a metaphor for the processes in psychology that uncover and expose the self, Chabannes has not only destroyed the images of her predecessors, but also dug through the images and into the infrastructure of the Museum. The process of excavation (and discovery) will continue throughout the exhibition as she periodically returns to continue to burrow into the Museum’s walls.

Chabannes’s use of the phrase “the fourth hand” refers to art historian Charles Green’s book The Third Hand: Collaboration in Art from Conceptualism to Postmodernism. The title relates to the timeless notion of “the hand of the artist” and how, through sustained collaboration, two artists can create a third hand, a new and separate creative identity. Chabannes takes this notion one step further: through her appropriation and manipulation of images that document artistic relationships, her hand literally creates a fourth identity.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Allison Smith

Rudiments of Fife & Drum

May 27, 2013, to September 2, 2013

Rudiments of Fife & Drum is the culmination of a year-long project organized by the artist Allison Smith in collaboration with The Aldrich Museum. Opening on May 27, and continuing through September 2, Rudiments of Fife & Drum explores the history of American fife & drum music, tracing its roots to the Middle East and reinterpreting the emblematic rope tension drum as a communication device, both on the battlefield and in peacetime.

Smith’s multi-media project, which utilizes the front parlor, porch, and adjacent lawn area of “Old Hundred,” the Museum’s administration building on Main Street, was inspired by Connecticut’s central and continuing position in the development
of American fife & drum music. Old Hundred, a landmark of Ridgefield’s historic district named for its role as a general store, bank, and post office from 1783 through 1883, abuts the site of a Revolutionary War battle.

The transformation of Old Hundred has involved the creation of a “period room” to function as a site for public engagement related to the project, including workshops, lectures, performances, and public forums. Sculptural elements of Smith’s installation include a large farm table and Windsor chairs, a fireplace mantelpiece, a corner cupboard displaying handmade textiles and ceramics, custom drapery, and a number of rope tension drums from the Cooperman Company collection. An archive of photographs and other ephemera documents the history and development of fife & drum music from the ancient Islamic world and Turkish Janissary military bands to the present. Smith also presents her own series of scaled-up rope tension and frame drums featuring vibrant nail-work designs, as well as a “jingling johnny.” The exterior of the building features a “tavern sign” communicating that Old Hundred is once again open for business.

The Celestial Ancients Fife & Drum Corps, Smith’s project band, will perform during the course of the exhibition. Led and organized by guest musical curator James Clark, their repertoire reflects the deep and complicated history of fife & drum music, from its origins in the Ottoman Empire to its ongoing development through Europe (particularly Switzerland), the American Revolution, and the Civil War. The Celestial Ancients will perform on drums designed by Smith and co-fabricated in collaboration with the Cooperman Company, the leading manufacturer of traditional rope tension drums in the United States. A fife & drum muster in the Museum’s sculpture garden on August 25 will feature the renowned regional fife band Connecticut Valley Field Music, led by Clark, as well as visiting groups, including Grainfield Fife & Drum Corps of Rheinfelden, Switzerland.

Xaviera Simmons

Underscore

September 22, 2013, to March 9, 2014

​Xaviera Simmons’s body of work spans photography, performance, video, sound and installation. She defines her studio practice, which is rooted in an ongoing investigation of experience, memory, abstraction, present and future histories, and specifically shifting notions surrounding landscape, as cyclical rather than linear.

For Underscore, Simmons looks at how artists draw directly from the movements, subtitles, and concepts of other practitioners. She shows how inspiration informs rehearsing, giving birth to new expression in the culminating work. The exhibition includes two photographs from the Untitled (Cape) series; a slide installation, Into the Rehearsal; and the premiere of a site-specific performance work, Number 17.

In Warm Leatherette and Horse (both 2009), Simmons selects diverse record sleeves as the catalyst for the photographs; simultaneously landscape surveyor, photographer, actor, and musician, she stages characters in scenic locales with each face (re)placed by an LP cover depicting a familiar portrait of a musician. This project combines her engagement with landscape, locales, portraiture, and performance.

For Into the Rehearsal (2013), Simmons examines contemporary modes of collecting and archiving, presenting digitally manipulated images culled from online Jamaican dance hall footage. Shown on a slide projector on a slow fade in an intentionally locked room and seen through an aperture, these images are a chapter in a growing body of work she has been producing since 2010.

Number 17 (2013), the artist’s most complex endurance-based performance to date, was presented over five hours on opening day, transforming the Opatrny Gallery into an active rehearsal/studio space, where the audience confronted “acts” of visual and sound construction, informed by post-modern avant-garde performance techniques, improvisational sound art, endurance practices, and action painting.

A video and vestiges of the process document the event and its aftermath, acting as testament to the synergy of art, its production, and everlasting legacy.

As a totality, the works on view underscore the experimental, the improvisational, and the collaborative as critical systems of art practice, collapsing the artist/audience and artist/performer dynamic to make evident the processes during and after the making.

Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

Xaviera Simmons lives and works in New York City.

James Mollison

The Disciples

September 22, 2013, to March 9, 2014

​In 2005 James Mollison began a four-year project to photograph not the musicians, but the fans of a cross section of popular music acts in both the United States and Europe. Usually denied permission to photograph inside
a concert venue, Mollison, assisted by his wife, would set up a temporary studio on the street outside and invite selected concertgoers to pose for individual portraits. Subsequently, he joined together shots from the same concert to create panoramic images that silently captured the zeitgeist of the act’s aesthetic. This exhibition presents seven large-scale prints from the fifty-nine photographs that comprise the series.

Mollison approaches his varied photographic projects in the manner of an anthropologist, consistently utilizing a series format to reveal both commonality and distinctions between his subjects. The Disciples is based on Mollison’s interest in the sociology of celebrity, particularly the power of music to form powerful social bonds, and how these bonds are reinforced by tribal-like codes and signs.

Seen together, Mollison’s images of diverse fan bases speak of social and class differences, but also of the power of art to coalesce and unify identity. The artist’s visual inventory of each musical “tribe” reveals the way that simple style is transformed into culture and, ultimately, history. The images that comprise The Disciples might at first glance confirm biases on cultural stereotypes, but their cumulative effect can curiously create the opposite reaction in a viewer: a self-conscious awareness that, as humans, we all conform in varying measure to our individual social group and it is almost impossible to escape from the forces of group identity.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Each image in the exhibition is accompanied by a recording of an iconic song performed by the musical artist whose fans are portrayed.

Digital printing by Joseph Merritt & Company. Inc.

Sol LeWitt

The Music Collection

September 22, 2013, to March 9, 2014

​Unlike the majority of exhibitions concerning the artist Sol LeWitt (1928–2007),
this one does not include his work, but rather the work of others who have either influenced the artist or for whom the artist has felt an affinity. Going one step further, the works presented are not those of visual artists, but rather composers, known for their contributions to the field of music and, in particular, Western music since the Baroque period.

The Music Collection is just what the title of the exhibition implies, a view
into LeWitt’s amassing of both scores by contemporary composers and an encyclopedic library of recorded music. The collection of recordings, personally transferred by the artist from vinyl and radio onto the medium of cassette
tape, represents thirty years of effort (the most recent tape dates from 2002). The cassettes, which lined the walls of a small room in the artist’s Chester, Connecticut, home, have been installed at The Aldrich to mimic their original organization on white wooden shelves. The consecutive numbers on the spines of the cassettes and their notation in an accompanying logbook catalogue 3,970 individual tapes.

LeWitt was a well-known collector of contemporary art, with his collection numbering over 11,000 objects. Contained within this collection are twenty-six scores written by contemporary composers, including Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Cage, Roland Dahinden, Alvin Lucier, and Walter Hekster. This exhibition presents
a handful of these scores, three by Reich, one by Glass, and one “hybrid” score by Cage, all composers particularly relevant to LeWitt’s practice as a visual artist.

The Music Collection is a glimpse into LeWitt’s passionate and sustained interest in music over the course of a career. The Aldrich is grateful to Carol and Sofia LeWitt for generously allowing the Museum to move Sol’s tape collection to its temporary home in Ridgefield. Special appreciation goes to Janet Passehl, curator of the LeWitt Collection, for her detailed help in every aspect of the organization of this exhibition. We are thankful to Farrow & Ball, Westport, for supplying the paint that allowed us to accurately recreate the ambiance of Sol’s music room.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Selections from Glenn Gould’s 1962 recording of J. S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier are presented in the gallery during the exhibition. This recording is included in the LeWitt music library and was one of the artist’s favorite interpretations of Bach’s work.

Martin Creed

Scales

September 22, 2013, to March 9, 2014

​The multifarious activities of Martin Creed—visual artist, composer, musician, performer, and choreographer—are received and contextualized as artworks, yet he resists that definition; rather, he catalogues his output by a simple taxonomy: a number followed by a descriptive title. Since the initial Work No. 3, Yellow painting (1996), the intervening seventeen years have seen the accumulation of nearly two thousand works, including Work No. 1652 (2013), a Victorian upright piano whose lid mechanically opens and then drops closed. The abrupt slam causes the faint resonance of every string, an atonal drone that ebbs and flows with the creak and bang of the lid’s movement. What might be considered
music in this work is as much tied to the object’s inherent qualities as to an incremental, relative, and nimble exercise in classification.

Michelangelo, master of the High Renaissance and progenitor of the multi- hyphenate, is supposed to have said that the sculpture was inside the marble and it was just a matter of finding it. Creed often refers to this anecdote as
“a nice way to think about working—finding it, not making it.” Scales assumes this exploratory methodology, finding music both sonorously and conceptually in the most obvious and least likely of things and ways, in works in paint, ink, sculpture, and video.

This exhibition is bound together by the artist’s consistently applied methodology: playing off characteristics essential to light, metronomes, balloons, a piano, a drum machine, paint brushes, and people, rather than manipulating them to a desired effect, which yields work as much about music as all forms of creative expression. Unexpectedly complex expressions are drawn from breaking things down by units and measures, allowing new subtexts about happiness, love, relationships, anxiety, fear, failure, and death to emerge. Consider these works amongst Creed’s on-going experiments, which might illuminate some things we don’t know while helping us to enjoy the process of finding out.

Kelly Taxter, curator

Martin Creed lives and works in London, England, and Alcudi, Italy.

Simon Blackmore

Three Sound Works

September 22, 2013, to March 9, 2014

​For artist Simon Blackmore, the nature and history of musical translation and
its relationship to technology has provided a rich area for inquiry. This exhibition brings together three related works that use the language of music to convert one form of information into another: Weather Guitar, a Flamenco guitar that “plays” 
to changing weather conditions via an interface with a set of exterior weather instruments; Audio Monitors, a pair of speaker-like objects that don’t broadcast sound, but rather listen to the environment and count down the seconds and minutes of silence, only stopping at 4’ 33”, the length and title of John Cage’s iconic silent musical composition; and Sticks, a computer-based piece that utilizes a modified version of ASCII, an early binary computer code, to transmit text messages across the gallery by the rhythmic clicking of hand-held wooden sticks.

Blackmore’s work is characterized by an inventive, DIY approach that draws
on influences such as hobby-style electronics, open-source software, and
lo-fi aesthetics. The resulting “performative” sculpture and installations are not, however, just about revealing the inner workings of things that are usually invisible, but rather are an attempt to tackle the more philosophically thorny questions that surround our increasingly complicated relationship with technology and the power it holds over us.

It perhaps should come as no surprise that Blackmore is himself a musician, but his choice of instrument might come as a shock: acoustic guitar. The artist has played the Flamenco guitar, one of the most traditional of instruments,
for many years, and has recently spent time in Spain to perfect his technique. But he also creates and performs experimental music as part of the Owl Project, a collective of artists who have appeared throughout Europe playing sculptural electronic instruments of their own design. It is in this clash between the old and the new that Blackmore’s main interests lie, and the works in this exhibition all speak of the artist’s efforts to humanize technology, grounded by an attitude of playful subversion.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Simon Blackmore lives and works in Manchester, England. This is his first exhibition in the United States.

Jack Whitten

Evolver

April 6, 2014, to July 6, 2014

​Jack Whitten: Evolver is one of a series of exhibitions mounted in connection with The Aldrich’s 50th Anniversary that presents the recent work of artists who played a significant role during the first decade of the Museum’s history. Jack Whitten’s career began in the mid-1960s, but it was in 1970 that he first produced work that established the true direction his painting would take over the ensuing forty-three years. Evolver focuses on works Whitten created in the past sixteen months—a remarkably productive period—but also includes as a touchstone Shadows, a 1971 painting that was in the collection of Larry Aldrich, the Museum’s founder. Like a dark mirror, Shadows portends Whitten’s future evolution while also looking back at history, a condition that has characterized the artist’s endeavors to the present day.

Whitten’s formative influence was Abstract Expressionism, but he came of age in the 1960s, with the social, political, and aesthetic upheaval of the era helping forge a unique perspective that continues to inform the artist’s work. The subject matter of Whitten’s painting oscillates between the universal and personal, with references to a spectrum of influences, including philosophy, civil rights, history (particularly of the ancient Mediterranean world) and individuals–both friends and historical figures–who have had an impact on the artist’s life. Whitten’s work exhibits a profound degree of knowledge about technical developments in the chemistry of paint and pigments and the materiality of paint. This knowledge, however, was gained through the act of painting, not from outside sources. As much as Whitten’s work comes out of Abstract Expressionism, his process is quite different, reflecting an approach that mixes intuition, philosophical inquiry, and quasi-scientific experimentation in equal measure.

“Painting is a reproduction of a mental pattern,” the artist has stated. “I have to see the painting before I start.” Whitten, working in this manner, is tapping into the deepest patterns of psychic functioning, a position that echoes certain precepts in archetypal psychology. In trying to locate the “soul” of a new painting, Whitten is thinking of soul in terms of perspective: a reflective viewpoint towards the world, rather than a disembodied spirit or substance. This fluid and open attitude has allowed the artist’s work to evolve in brilliant and always unpredictable ways.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Jack Whitten: Evolver is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michael Joo

Drift

April 6, 2014, to September 21, 2014

Over a career that now spans two decades, Michael Joo has redefined sculpture, creating a body of work that transcends the seduction of technology and the easy answers offered by science to generate a set of questions that place humankind in the context of natural history. Joo, like artist Robert Smithson before him, engages with a deep sense of time, as well as with the cycles of creation and entropy inherent in both nature and human endeavor. For this new project, created specifically for The Aldrich, Joo expands Smithson’s notion of site/non-site by connecting the interior of the Museum to the surrounding landscape and its specific history. Drift is based on Joo’s meditation on Cameron’s Line, an ancient suture fault that traces the edge of the continental collision that initiated the formation of the Appalachian Mountains. The line–which runs north from New York City through Westchester County, passes through Ridgefield as it traverses Connecticut, then crosses Massachusetts into Vermont–is defined by a belt of marble that includes the famous quarries of Vermont. The exhibition poses Cameron’s Line as a linear experience through both time and space, and features a massive displacement of Vermont marble that takes the form of a fourteen-hundred-square-foot chamber, whose chilled and frosted ceiling echoes the marble’s crystalline structure.

Curated by Richard Klein and Alyson Baker

Michael Joo was born in 1966 in Ithaca, NY, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Michael Joo: Drift is made possible, in part, by generous funding from Blain/Southern, London, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Jennifer McSweeney, Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister, and The Aldrich Contemporary Council.

Michelle Lopez

Angels, Flags, Bangs

April 6, 2014, to September 21, 2014

Sculptor Michelle Lopez explores the contested yet generative place where Minimalism and Feminism converge, diverge, and ultimately reunite. The languages she employs—material, form, and space—seek to, as she says, “corrupt Minimalism,” by making “macho sculpture feminine.” Exploring the fragility of cultural icons by manipulating materials to, in her description, “wilt,” “crease,” and “crush,” she seeks to (re)cover, (de)code, and (re)produce the methodologies of (un) making sculpture by collapsing, expanding, and releasing it from itself.

The exhibition presents new and recent sculptures spanning three bodies of work. Three works from the Blue Angels series (2011–ongoing) lean precariously against the Screening Room walls, with Blue Angel (Korean) and Blue Angel (United), both 2014, made specifically for The Aldrich. Their larger-than-life size and mirrored surfaces mimic Minimalism, but reject its industrial fabrication and imposing authority. The forms reference crashed fuselages, recalling the trauma of 9/11 and our looming fear of new technology. Lopez physically wrestled the massive steel sheets through intensive folding exercises on her studio floor.

Three works from the Flags series (2014), each comprising a steel rod armature wrapped by malleable pure-lead sheets, are hung along the Ramp Gallery wall. Lopez reshapes symbols associated with victory and patriotism into frail objects. Evocative of surrender or a child’s bike pennant, the cragginess of their finish heightens the sense of attrition or defeat. Although they may be perceived as anti- heroic, deflated, or even ragged, the visibility of their maker’s hand enlivens them, transcending their forlornness—though they droop, they still stand.

Bangs (2013), a site-specific sculptural installation, transforms the diminutive Small Space into an intimate encounter. Mimicking the scale of an elevator, heavy matte- black canvas cloth, cut, sewn, edged, and grommeted by Lopez, drapes across three interior walls, like fringed hair. Deep cuts expose grey felt innards and the folds, assertive in scale, suggestive of a colossal cartoon wig, intuit a being—albeit a bodiless one—as if a female ghost is emerging from the blankets’ curves.

Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart

Michelle Lopez was born in 1970 and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and Guilford, Connecticut.

Taylor Davis

If you steal a horse, and let him go,  he’ll take you to the barn you stole him from

April 6, 2014, to September 21, 2014

Taken from a short story by author William Gass, the title of Taylor Davis’s exhibition points to the circular sense of movement that is inherent in both the conceptual and physical aspects of her work. Davis’s deep interest in sculpture is based in the way that a viewer’s orientation can be influenced by the perception of both form and language in space, and how this experience is an analogy to the ongoing need to constantly orient oneself in relationship to the world. The exhibition includes four related bodies of work: built forms, which are thoughtfully crafted wood objects that direct the viewer’s attention between material and form, inside and outside, and movement and stasis; the artist’s text-based works that simultaneously engage and distract the viewer’s attention, slowing down, and in some cases thwarting, the certainty of interpretation; collages that present imagery in a non-hierarchical format, suggesting that meaning is not preordained, but rather is to be found in the act of looking; and shaped canvases that play with perception by combining a Minimalist reserve with restless Op-art-like visual activity.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Taylor Davis was born in 1959 in Palm Springs, California, and lives and works in Boston.

David Diao

Front to Back

July 13, 2014, to September 21, 2014

David Diao, Double Rejection, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery, New York
David Diao, Double Rejection, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery, New York


David Diao: Front to Back is the second in a series of exhibitions in The Aldrich’s 50th Anniversary year that presents the work of artists whose careers are intimately tied to the history of the Museum. Diao had a painting enter Larry Aldrich’s collection in 1968 and his work was subsequently included in group exhibitions at The Aldrich in 1971, 1987, 1992, and 1996. The artist’s response to this history is an exhibition that references the idea of a retrospective, but casts it in the unique light of the body of work made by Diao that focuses on his own career as well as the nature of the art world in which he finds himself embedded. The title Front to Back implies a chronological read, and the exhibition does indeed include works from the beginning of the artist’s career up to the recent past; but the reference goes deeper, speaking of Diao’s ongoing interpretation of Modernism and, since 1984, the extensive use of text in his paintings.

Diao came of age in the period immediately following Abstract Expressionism and was part of the generation of painters that struggled with the evolution of the medium in the shadow of Minimalism, Conceptualism, and Process Art that categorized New York in the 1960s. The early works (dating from 1971 and 1972) in this exhibition evidence this struggle, and Diao has used them and their history as subject matter to provocatively inform the content of the later works.

One enters Front to Back by literally passing through a gap in the artist’s three-panel painting Résumé (1991), which as the title implies is a work that summarizes Diao’s exhibition history up to that point. Résumé is the earliest of the recent works in the exhibition, representing a phase—continued to the present day—of the artist critically examining the art world, his place in art history, and the usually invisible forces that shape visual culture.

The pre-1991 works in Front to Back point to the grounding of Diao’s art in the formal, abstract aspects of Modernism, while the later works are categorized by the use of the highly flexible and articulate language of that movement for deliberate and meditative social ends. Usually, art that is based in either the social or the political is ineffectual as the finger pointing is directed out towards the morally obvious. Diao, through his recent work, has held a mirror up to himself and the community he inhabits, and the results are complex, nuanced, and often uncomfortably self-conscious—just like the truth.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

David Diao was born in 1943 in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, and lives and works in New York City.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins

Unicorn

April 6, 2014, to September 21, 2014

​Unicorn presents eight works by Jessica Jackson Hutchins, spanning video, sculpture, collage and monoprints, and a new large-scale sculpture.

Hutchins makes use of the things around her—worn clothing, tattered chairs, nicked tables, stained sofas—inserting hand-molded ceramic objects to craft works that make poetry from the mundane and unite the corporeal with the abstract, the relatable with the enigmatic. She shows us that an artist is unmistakably human, and that creative expression is fed by human experience.

In Unicorn and The Key (2010), Hutchins’s own baby grand piano, a quintessential symbol of family time, takes center stage, topped by a ceramic form evocative of a unicorn’s horn. The piano’s exterior is gashed and graffitied, evidencing the origin of several to-scale woodcuts and collaged prints on view.

In ADAM (with Pink Flowers) (2010), the title of the video and its repeating melody, Children of the Sunshine, reads in reverse. The eponymous video portrait, performed by Hutchins, her family and friends, shows how the raw emotive rhythm of daily life is woven into her material. For Finale (2011), the areas gouged from the baby grand are recycled as collaged wood cutouts, pasted near their corresponding absences. For the bench prints, such as Key!! (2010), Hutchins places paper on the inked, incised surfaces, adding collaged paper-pulp to give a two-dimensional plane depth.

Every Man Has his Tastes (2013–14), Hutchins’s newest sculpture, takes its title from a line by the Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi. A stout clay form, a cross between a termite mound and a scholar’s rock, sits upon the dowdy ottoman like a fossil or moon rock specimen; a bowl-like clay form is tucked inside the cushion crease of the matching chair. A painted visual continuity marries the objects forever to the furniture.

Overall, Hutchins confronts us with a pregnant visual language that shoots us up into the star-crossed cosmos and grounds us in the depths of the dark earth—all at the same time.

Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart

Jessica Jackson Hutchins was born in 1971 in Chicago and lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

The Aldrich Collection 1964-1974

Standing in the Shadows of Love

April 6, 2014, to April 5, 2015

Eva Hesse, Accession, 1967; Collection of Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Friends of Modern Art Fund and Miscellaneous Gifts Fund
Eva Hesse, Accession, 1967; Collection of Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase,
Friends of Modern Art Fund and Miscellaneous Gifts Fund


Part I: April 6 to September 21, 2014
Robert Indiana, Robert Morris, Ree Morton, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Smithson

Part II: October 19, 2014 to April 5, 2015
Richard Artschwager, Eva Hesse, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra

The Aldrich is marking its 50th Anniversary with a series of exhibitions and programs that examine the Museum’s formative years of 1964 to 1974 through a contemporary lens, illuminating the lasting impact of a seminal period of history. Standing in the Shadows of Love: The Aldrich Collection 1964-1974–a two-part exhibition of iconic works that are representative of The Aldrich’s early collection acquired by founder Larry Aldrich–has also created a platform for a cross-generational dialogue.

Alongside these iconic works, curators will present solo exhibitions throughout the year of eight contemporary artists whose work reflects the legacy that Mr. Aldrich created. Artists include: Taylor Davis, Kate Gilmore, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Michael Joo, Michelle Lopez, Ernesto Neto, David Scanavino, and Cary Smith.

By opening a conversation between the historical works and the work of the younger artists, this suite of exhibitions clearly and specifically reveals the continuing influence of both the art and culture of the 1960s. Today’s artists provide the interpretation, evolution, and further development of themes and ideas expressed and explored in the classic works on view, testifying to the influence and impact of the artists identified and supported by Mr. Aldrich before they were proven, at a time when they were still forming the visual vocabulary that would come to define an era.

The works included in Standing in the Shadows of Love are either the actual pieces that were in the Museum’s early collection, or comparable examples of the artist’s work from the same period. They are presented in transitional spaces throughout the Museum, along with materials from The Aldrich’s archive that document the close collaboration and intimate connections between the exhibiting artists and the institution.

Jackie Winsor

With and Within

October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015

Winsor’s first solo museum exhibition since 1997 opens with a to-scale photograph of Burnt Piece. The artist constructed a wood and concrete cube and set it ablaze, using one of the most potent natural agents, fire, to introduce radical change and risk into the process. The completion of this work by means of a destructive act addresses her interest in unifying the known and the unknown.

The exhibition brings together ten works from Winsor’s Inset Wall series, begun in 1988; Painted Piece (1979–80), an influential performative sculpture, and photographs recording its creation; and videos and photographs documenting one layer of construction of Fifty- Fifty (1975) and the burning of Burnt Piece (1977–78). Winsor’s sculpture embraces the unification of opposing forces to evoke a singular vitality, which is given form through technical ingenuity and unparalleled craftsmanship. Her focus on intimacy and the body in relationship to scale, measurement, and placement, and her interest in elementary form has, for some, placed her historically at an intersection between Minimalism and feminism.

Winsor’s early sculptures were created over extended periods of time using familiar, task-oriented gestures. An initial focus on elementary, symmetrical forms progressed into combinations that evolved into stepped pyramids, resting on the floor and, since the late 1980s, sunken into the wall.

The works in the Inset Wall series pierce the gallery walls at heart level: the vitality is contained within the work’s core, inviting the gaze to penetrate deep within. The tranquil introspection of these pieces is disrupted by the sounds of Winsor drilling and hammering in video footage by Liza Béar documenting the creation of Fifty-Fifty, an intersecting grid with more than 42,336 nails and pre-drilled holes.

Painted Piece is at the center of the exhibition space. Winsor layered fifty coats of paint, ranging from pink to blue to yellow, onto a plywood cube, tied it behind a car and pulled it over cobblestones—alternating sides and occasionally adding weight by sitting atop the cube. The dragging exposed colorful under-layers, the scars and scratches embodying the history and circumstance of its creation.

From the tough vitality of the early work to the calming rumination of the later, With and Within contemplates the dynamic interplay of opposing but complementary power sources in a practice that spans five decades. The sculptures are both expressive and intimate; they invite the viewer into their quiet timelessness.

Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

Jackie Winsor was born in 1941 in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, and lives and works in New York City.

Cary Smith

Your Eyes They Turn Me

October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015

Over the course of the past twenty-five years, the painter Cary Smith has engaged in
a restless, but controlled, pursuit of abstraction. Smith’s work has been consistently categorized by a particular poetic logic, rigorous craft, and a beautiful, but not gratuitous, color sense. Working in the wake of the freedom presented by the collapse of Modernism’s rigid dogmas, the artist’s work vacillates between geometric and biomorphic abstraction and is witness to a range of subtle (and often surprising) influences, including the aesthetics of eighteenth and nineteenth century New England and the visual vocabulary found in Mid-Century art and design.

Your Eyes They Turn Me focuses on work completed since 2008, including Smith’s Splats, radiating works that utilize a splash-like motif, and Wonder Wheels, optically active, geometric grids that exhibit a music-like tonality. The exhibition’s title, appropriated from a song by Radiohead, suggests optical attraction, desire, and movement—all things that a viewer encounters in the artist’s work.

Included in this exhibition are eighteen of the artist’s small-scale works on paper, including drawn versions of Splats, Straight Lines, Ovals, and Gray Blocks. Smith’s drawings are often preparatory to his paintings, giving the artist the advantage of refining the shape and placement of forms on the picture plane prior to committing them to canvas. Carefully rendered with pencil, these works substitute disciplined mark making for the exactitude of color that the artist brings to his paintings. Where Smith’s craftsmanship often drops into the background behind the color in the paintings, his flawless technique makes the experience of the drawings first and foremost one of precision; the careful, gradated application of graphite speaks of a patience that is almost painful. Smith’s work, however, is not about obsession, but about care and devotion to a process where ideally both the medium and the means are transcended.

In 1963, the art historian and curator William Rubin described Ellsworth Kelly’s painting as exhibiting “a peculiarly American combination of the hedonistic and the puritanical,” an observation that one could rightly apply to Smith’s work. At the heart of Smith’s practice is an exuberant form of control, a state of direct emotional participation and knowledge that is disassociated from any specific instance, yet speaks clearly of real experience. “I don’t want the viewer to understand my paintings,” Smith has stated, “but I want them to make sense.”

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Cary Smith was born in 1955 in Puerto Rico; he lives in Farmington, Connecticut, and works in Collinsville, Connecticut.

This exhibition has been generously supported, in part, by Cynthia and Stuart Smith.

Ernesto Neto

The Body That Gravitates on Me

October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015

The Body That Gravitates on Me, 2006
Polyamide fabric, Styrofoam, nylon stockings, sand Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
The Body That Gravitates on Me, 2006
Polyamide fabric, Styrofoam, nylon stockings, sand Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

​Ernesto Neto has become internationally known for translucent organic sculptures that often take on architectural proportions. Frequently blurring boundaries between inside and outside, weightlessness and gravitational pull, relaxation and tension, Neto’s work exhibits both playfulness and a formal rigor that is often—literally—stretched to the extreme by his use of flexible synthetic fabrics, particularly those used in stockings and tights: nylon and polyamide. The Body That Gravitates on Me has been installed in The Aldrich’s atrium, with its pendulous appendages dangling from the space’s 25-foot ceiling. Like many of Neto’s sculptures, the work goes beyond being simple organic abstraction to actually resembling a living organism, with its form including elements that read as a body, appendages, and orifices, described by the artist as “a kind of fantasy of nature, and a hypothesis about a structure of a body.”

Commenting on the piece’s title, Neto stated: “Sometimes I like to put the viewer inside of the work, through the title, to have that feeling that we are pulled towards the object, that we are inside of a field that surrounds it. This personalizes the work, bringing it closer to us. This also helps to disguise its specific anatomy, to bring the form back to the viewer.”

Neto’s art has been informed by both nature and culture, with influences ranging from the ecology of his native Brazil to mathematics, physics, astronomy, and movements such as Minimalism and Arte Povera. In the context of The Aldrich’s fiftieth anniversary, his installation has been juxtaposed with those of Richard Serra (whom Neto has referenced as an influence) and Eva Hesse. Like Neto’s work in the present day, in the 1960s Hesse’s sculpture referenced the body and utilized unusual and fragile materials in the service of reconciling formalism with figurative concerns.

Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Ernesto Neto was born in 1964 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he currently lives and works. He has exhibited his work worldwide, including recent solo exhibitions at the Guggenheim, Bilbao; Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo; Espace Louis Vuitton, Tokyo; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome

David Scanavino

Imperial Texture

October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015

For more than a decade, David Scanavino has explored the ubiquitous vernacular of the institutional—the run-of-the-mill, nondescript architectural features of pedestrian spaces that don’t stand out; the interiors of public schools, city libraries, state hospitals, and bureaucratic agencies. These impressional yet indistinguishable interiors are the impetus and inspiration for Scanavino’s sculptures, works on paper, installations, and wall-relief paintings.

Scanavino asks us to think about how we relate to built space, especially the uninteresting but unmistakable institutional places we (un)willingly occupy. He transforms the architecturally “insignificant” and the seemingly inescapable into something seductive, something playful, something appealing, something unexpected—activating the space by using unassuming, inexpensive, manufacturing and preschool art supplies, vibrant construction paper, and Elmer’s Glue.

At The Aldrich, Scanavino debuts a site-specific floor sculpture and a monumental wall relief, turning the South Gallery into both an experiential installation and engaging platform for interactivity. Imperial Texture (2014) spans the floor and scales four walls, making it feel as though the viewer has walked into a gigantic immersive abstract painting or virtual video game. Using multicolored 1 x 1 foot linoleum tiles, Scanavino conceives what at
first emerges as a dizzying arrangement that generates a tantalizing optical sensation. As the floor tilts upwards onto the walls, it challenges the viewer’s dimensional perception, offering an intensified sensorial experience about body, site, and spatial conformation.

But even more significant for Scanavino is the looming presence of noted influencer Richard Artschwager, who also famously used household commercial materials such as Celotex ceiling tiles and Formica to create “hybrid” objects—like Pyramidal Object (1967), situated immediately outside the South Gallery as part of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary exhibition, Standing in the Shadows of Love.

To intensify the viewing experience, Scanavino also introduces Peacock (2014), an animated wall relief crafted with a colorful construction-paper pulp-and-glue blend that has been applied by hand directly onto one of the gallery’s walls. Formed over three eight-hour days, the pulp was pre-mixed in the studio using a household blender and arrived in color-coded buckets.

Scanavino’s works allow us entry into a mind that pulsates with color and throbs with pattern, stimulating us to rethink our relationship to the everyday elements orbiting us: the floating shapes in an indigo sky, shadows hopping across a glowing ceiling, and the rainbow hues that refract off a dewy window pane.

Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

David Scanavino was born on 1978 in Denver, Colorado, and lives and works in New York.

Kate Gilmore

A Roll in the Way

October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015

The practice of Kate Gilmore spans video, sculpture, photography, performance, and installation. She is almost always the sole protagonist in her videos, recorded either privately in her studio or onsite, never rehearsed, and only attempted once. She assumes the functions of characters who are subjected to situations on constructed environments that act as the catalyst for a mélange of wacky plays on art and life.

Gilmore debuts A Roll in the Way (2014), a site-specific sculpture and video that
is a record of a private performance produced within The Aldrich’s walls. The end result of her actions is a monumental sculpture, a “container” of the performance’s aftermath, comprised of a pile of logs covered in bright paint, on a white platform. The video, shot from an aerial perspective, shows Gilmore stacking logs onto a base designed to exactly fit the camera’s frame. The action unfolds as follows: Gilmore dips logs approximately two feet long with a softball-size diameter in paint and carries
and lifts them onto the base, leaving a trace of color that gradually expands as the accumulation of logs increases until it reaches maximum capacity. The paint drips as if the wood bleeds, leaving a trace of the live event that bestows an inanimate object with emotional pathos. The sheer scale of the installation is testament to the incredible physicality of Kate Gilmore’s practice. The bodily force exerted and the sculpture’s immensity and site-specificity recall the infinitives Richard Serra used to describe his artistic process: “to drop,” “to roll,” and “to splash.”

Alongside A Roll in the Way, two recent performance-based videos: Love Em’, Leave Em’ (2013) and Like this, Before (2013) are on view. Both star Gilmore and employ bold color and store-bought pots or vases, her labor here referencing Abstract Expressionism’s one shot, all-or-nothing, action-based ethos. By subscribing to its power, she forges a dialogue about identity, gender, and status. As Gilmore explains: “A pot or vase is just as beautiful with its insides spilling out. I look at the construction of the individual in the same terms.”

On view concurrently in the Balcony Gallery, with a sight line onto Gilmore’s installation, is noted influencer Richard Serra’s Bent Pipe Roll (1968), a work included in the Museum’s 50th Anniversary exhibition, Standing in the Shadows of Love.

Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

Kate Gilmore was born in 1975 in Washington, DC, and currently lives and works in New York City.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Stanley Family Fund.

Mary Beth Edelson

Six Story Gathering Boxes (1972-2014)

October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015

This participatory exhibition brings together six of Mary Beth Edelson’s ground-breaking story gathering boxes—a project initiated in 1972 that is still ongoing—seminal contributions that encapsulated an evolving feminist art legacy and evidenced the very first vestiges
of what is familiarly known today as “social practice.” These works, taken as a whole, engage audience interconnectivity to establish an exhibition hinged upon “interaction” in order to explore the diverse ways in which we relate to collaborative art and its impact on the world beyond the museum.

Edelson, an early pioneer of the feminist art movement as well as participatory art works, has enjoyed a six and a half decade career that traverses media ranging from performance to photography, painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, artist books, collages, video, and collaborative art. Centered on the experimental and oriented towards activist principles, she makes art that is predicated upon a cooperative experience focused on viewers’ involvement and reflection.

The story gathering boxes comprise two types: those created with media including leather, paint, ink, graphite, and watercolor, containing wooden tablets encompassing texts and imagery on specific themes such as gender, sexuality, goddesses, myths,
and spirituality; and those that involve a set of paper tablets with questions stamped
at the top, prompting a handwritten response from the viewer on topics ranging from gender to immigration. The questions transcend age, sexual preference, and culture, metamorphosing the purely subjective by forming a critical mass that encompasses generations and cuts across geography. Edelson assumes the role of archivist, curator, and caretaker, offering up a re-presentation of our greater social narrative as she asks us to scrutinize our cultural evolution.

Of the six boxes selected for the exhibition, two contain wooden tablets in their original boxes: New Myths/Old Myths (1973) and Great Mother (1973), which was exhibited forty years ago in The Aldrich exhibition Contemporary Reflections (1973–74). The four paper tablet boxes on view together span forty-two years: Gender Parity (1972–ongoing), Purveyor of Hope (1972–ongoing), Childhood (1995–ongoing), and Family Immigration Stories (2014–ongoing), a new work created especially for this exhibition. Visitors are invited to contribute their accounts, which besides being collected and archived will be added to Edelson’s website, storygatheringboxes.com, in order to be read by future generations as time capsules revealing of our era.

The fact that the story boxes have no end point, and will outlive Edelson herself, allows them to circulate in perpetuity, remaining forever relevant.

Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

Mary Beth Edelson was born in 1933 in East Chicago, Indiana, and has lived and worked in New York City for the past forty years.

Sloth

Seven Deadly Sins

July 19, 2015, to October 18, 2015

Sloth, The Aldrich’s contribution to Seven Deadly Sins, the first programmatic collaboration between The Fairfield Westchester Museum Alliance—a group of arts institutions in Connecticut and New York—is a project organized by artist Mats Bigert (b. 1965, Stockholm, Sweden) and Cabinet magazine editor-in-chief Sina Najafi (b.1965, Tehran, Iran). Utilizing the first floor and porch of The Aldrich’s historic “Old Hundred” building that dates from 1783, Bigert and Najafi do not address Sloth thematically, instead opting to advance human understanding by inhabiting the sin. Using the latest Western technologies—including Bob-O-Pedic recliners, video, television monitors, gin, ice, and tonic—Bigert and Najafi offer The Aldrich’s visitors the chance to armchair travel to the other six venues. No need to go all the way to Katonah! (And where exactly is Wave Hill?) Put aside that map, put up your feet, and learn about the other sins, thanks to the diligent curators at the other six institutions. And Sloth? Well, by the time you have sunk into the deep folds of one of the exhibition’s recliners, we think that you, too, will have come to know and love this most excellent of sins.

The series of exhibitions and programs will take place at The Aldrich; Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT (Pride); Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY (Envy); Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY (Lust); Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, NY (Gluttony); Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY (Greed); and Wave Hill in Bronx, NY (Wrath).

Generous support for Sloth has been provided by Bob’s Discount Furniture and The International Artists Studio Program in Stockholm (IASPIS).

Objects Like Us

Objects Like Us

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

Genesis Belanger, Double Cherry, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Mrs.
Genesis Belanger, Double Cherry, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Mrs.


Objects Like Us, a group exhibition featuring nearly seventy tabletop art objects by more than fifty artists, will open at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in May. This exhibition explores the relational behavior of intimately scaled objects that personify or embody a human condition or attribute. The objects will span nearly sixty years and feature works conceived specifically for the exhibition, including a site-specific floor installation by artist/co-curator David Adamo. The overall experience will underscore the efficacy of the works’ relativity and illuminate the interconnectedness of audience and objects. Objects Like Us, is organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator at The Aldrich, and Adamo; it will be on view at The Aldrich from May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

Small objects of symbolic prominence exert a special hold. Some purport to possess healing powers, channel spirit gods, or speak to us; others perform for us, mime our mannerisms, or impart notable narratives. Even with the dramatic dematerialization of objects in this hyperkinetic moment, tangible objects of small stature and symptomatic value command sizeable importance in our everyday lives, as they have for tens of thousands of years. We obsessively cram our homes, offices, museums, and galleries with these diminutive objects—whether objects of art, historical worth, ceremony, or of individual accomplishment, all are expressions of us, and thus of broader culture.

In Objects Like Us each work affects or exposes a circumstance, attribute, or manner that is notably human and transmits a potentiality, aura, or agency demonstrative of being. This exhibition brings together art objects that not only parrot human behavior or gestures, but that unequivocally “interrelate.” It has been conjured as a performative arrangement, with the objects installed in an intentional frontal method of display, positioned on a long shelf that extends over three walls of a rectilinear gallery. Its design combines two common yet neutralized display formats, the table and the shelf, suspending the visitor within a situation that evokes both the home and the museum. Another distinguishing feature of this exhibition is co-curator and artist David Adamo’s (b. 1979) eleven-hundred-square-foot, site-specific floor installation, Bâtons Rompus (2012), comprised entirely of rectangular sticks of white school chalk laid out in a herringbone pattern that mimics vintage parquet. Like all ephemeral works, its vulnerability will be apparent as the chalk inescapably succumbs to day-to-day wear and tear, fracturing and eventually disintegrating under the scores of shuffling feet, enhancing the visitor’s sensitivity to site and context while tracking their introspective travels within the gallery.

Artists confirmed for the exhibition: David Adamo (b. 1979), Yuji Agematsu (b. 1956), Sam Anderson (b. 1982), Janine Antoni (b. 1964), Robert Arneson (1930‒1992), Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980), Mary Bauermeister (b. 1934), Genesis Belanger (b. 1978), Brian Belott (b. 1973), Daniel Bozhkov (b. 1959), Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910‒1983), James Lee Byars (1932‒1997), Pia Camil (b. 1980), Jennifer Paige Cohen (b. 1972), Jeff Davis (b. 1967), Rainer Ganahl (b. 1961), Liz Glynn (b. 1981), Ben Gocker (b. 1979), David Hammons (b. 1943), K8 Hardy (b. 1977), Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941), Christian Holstad (b. 1972), Matt Hoyt (b. 1975), Jessica Jackson Hutchins (b. 1971), Jamie Isenstein (b. 1975), Lisa Kirk (b. 1967), Tetsumi Kudo (1935‒1990), Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt (b. 1948), Hanna Liden (b. 1976); Pam Lins (b. 1957), Nicolas Lobo (b. 1979), Alice Mackler (b. 1931), Joanna Malinowska (b. 1972), Tony Matelli (b. 1971), Ruby Neri (b. 1970), Sheila Pepe (b. 1959), Mai-Thu Perret (b. 1976), Sarah Peters (b. 1973), Michael Portnoy (b. 1971); Vanessa Safavi (b. 1980), Lucas Samaras (b. 1936), Aki Sasamoto (b. 1980), Sally Saul (b. 1946); Katy Schimert (b. 1963), Michelle Segre (b. 1965), Rudy Shepherd (b. 1975), Bruce M. Sherman (b. 1942), Diane Simpson (b. 1935), Luke Stettner (b. 1979), Alina Szapocznikow (1926‒1973), Francis Upritchard (b. 1976), Marianne Vitale (b. 1973), Nari Ward (b. 1963), Hannah Wilke (1940‒1993), and Rosha Yaghmai (b. 1979).

Objects Like Us is one chapter in a series of concurrent exhibitions at The Aldrich brought together under the title The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, all of which explore the nature of small objects and our relationship to them.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Generous funding for the accompanying exhibition publication, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, is provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip and Shelley Fox Aarons.

Analia Segal

contra la pared

May 20, 2018, to September 23, 2018

​The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Analia Segal: contra la pared, a solo exhibition of the artist’s recent work that expands Segal’s interrogation of the boundaries between art, design, and architecture, intertwining the conceptual, aesthetic, and functional nature of objects that inhabit our domestic environments. The exhibition, the Argentinean artist’s first solo museum presentation in the United States, will be on view May 20 to September 23, 2018.

contra la pared brings together a selection of Segal’s sculpture, video, furniture, and textile works to create an environment that resonates with both the familiar and the disquieting. The title, which can mean both “against the wall” or “cornered” in Spanish, references allusions in the artist’s work to domestic surfaces, such as wallpaper, as well as the feelings of insecurity and entrapment that interior spaces can provoke. The exhibition will include Inland, an animated video trilogy that juxtaposes the sensual—yet ominous—unfolding of patterned wall surfaces and window-like apertures against a soundtrack of fragmented phrases from language tutorials—in both English and Spanish—and texts from classic fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs.

Carpets in the exhibition ooze from underneath walls, while others unravel upwards to suggest flight; a series of benches and a wall of objects resembling books sprout tonguelike appendages and erotic puckers that violate their normal geometry. Segal’s childhood in Argentina was formed to a large extent by the uncertainty and anxiety of living under the authoritarian military dictatorship. This experience left her with complex feelings about the safety and security of domestic space, since her home had acted as both protector and prison. Moving to New York City in 1999, the artist was struck by the fact that, unlike the thick, sound-deadening masonry walls of her youth in Buenos Aires, walls in New York are permeable membranes that permit the outside world to enter, engendering a fluid sense of interior and exterior. contra la pared is a metaphorical compendium of Segal’s experiences, revealing her deft ability to manipulate both form and materials, and thus shift and amplify meaning.

Analia Segal (b. 1967, Rosario, Argentina) received her BA from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1997 and her MA from New York University in 2001. Segal received a 2017 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and was a Guggenheim Fellow. Her recent solo and group exhibitions include Opus Project Space, New York; Point of Contact Gallery, Syracuse University, NY; Heimbold Visual Art Center’s Barbara Walters Gallery, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museo del Barrio, New York; Triennale Design Museum, Milan, Italy; and MoMA PS1, New York. A major book on Segal’s work El interior del interior, published in Argentina in 2017, includes a comprehensive survey of eighteen years of her interdisciplinary investigations into the possibilities of both the process and the mediums of art making. Segal lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

Tucker Nichols

Almost Everything On The Table

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Almost Everything On The Table: The Smallish Explanatory Sculptures of Tucker Nichols As Employed in the Pursuit of Understanding by Dakin Hart. Comprised of tabletop hybrid objects/models composed from mostly found items, Nichols employs a wide range of materials to query both broad and topical questions about the cosmos. Almost Everything On The Table will be on view at The Aldrich May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

Even before the digital era, more or less everything you needed to understand about the universe fit on a kitchen table. Small models are a surprisingly powerful way to address big questions. The most unbelievable thing about an equation like E=mc2 is not how complex it is under the hood, but that anything as abstract and simply stated as a formula with only a few terms can have any relationship to a cosmic truth.

Organized in the anyone-can-be-a-natural-philosopher spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, this installation of epistemological apparatuses conceived by Tucker Nichols to answer questions propounded by Dakin Hart, explores the enterprise of curiosity that has produced the most absurd and ennobling understandings of man. With the right tools, you can hold infinity in the palm of your hand. Nichols employs found materials sourced from the beaches near his home in Northern California or those easily procured from his surroundings. Nichols, at his own and Hart’s request, transforms and repurposes man-made detritus culled from the ocean into vessels for pseudo-scientific inquiry.

All of the work in the Almost Everything On The Table is environmental, and with a nod to the inspirational sculptor Isamu Noguchi, explores how big and small forces influence our worldview, including gravity, chance, and electromagnetism. Under these terms, everyone has the capacity to observe how these forces interact. This installation encourages hands-on discovery and is predicated on physical contact with the material.

Tucker Nichols (b. 1970, Boston, MA) received his BA from Brown University and his MA from Yale University. His work has been included in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, at venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Denver Art Museum, Denver; and SFMOMA, San Francisco, among others.

Dakin Hart is the Senior Curator at The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, NY.

Almost Everything On The Table is one chapter in a series of concurrent exhibitions at The Aldrich brought together under the title The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, all of which explore the nature of small objects and our relationship to them.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Generous funding for the accompanying publication, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip and Shelley Fox Aarons.

On Edge

On Edge

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

Leslie Wayne, Corner Store (studio view), 2018; Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Leslie Wayne, Corner Store (studio view), 2018; Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present On Edge, an exhibition that brings together seven contemporary artists whose work addresses the complex and dynamic terrain of the table’s edge. Revealing the edge as a site where boundaries are both reinforced and tested, and where safety and danger coexist, On Edge will include works by Anthony Caro (1924‒2013), and newly commissioned works by Paul Bowen, Melvin Edwards, Michael Rees, Arlene Shechet, Venske & Spänle, and Leslie Wayne. Organized by The Aldrich’s exhibitions director, Richard Klein, the exhibition will be on view from May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

Traditionally, the edge has been avoided as it both suggests jeopardy and violates the comfortable and familiar framing of the art object by its display surface; yet artists have been drawn to the precipice by its theatricality as well as by subjective and formal concerns. The exhibition’s design subverts institutional expectations about presentation by utilizing the domestic table as a primary display surface, employing iconic tables by Modernist designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson generously provided by Design Within Reach. This installation emphasizes the uncertainty that small objects undergo when leaving the controlled, formal, museum or gallery environment of plinths and sculpture bases and enter the home. Traditionally, the domestic environment is one of order and safety, with the table being akin to a country or province: a landscape of unity and purpose that is bordered by the flow of the surrounding world. For an object to approach, or violate, the table’s edge is to question security, and, by extension, the sovereignty of what has been demarked as limited and known.

In our current moment where borders are being reinforced and nationalism is rising globally, the edge takes on a new urgency, charged with metaphors that go beyond the simply dramatic. If one believes significant art objects are imbued with some form of intentionality by their makers, all of the works included in On Edge share in being extremely self-conscious of both their scale and placement, questioning assumptions about the usually neutral relationship between small objects and their location in space.

On Edge is one chapter in a series of concurrent exhibitions at The Aldrich brought together under the title The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, all of which explore the nature of small objects and our relationship to them.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Generous funding for the accompanying exhibition publication, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, is provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip and Shelley Fox Aarons.

On Edge is supported by Design Within Reach.

Jessi Reaves

Kitchen Arrangement

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

Jessi Reaves and Robert Bittenbender, Crust of the Lake, 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Bridget Donahue, New York, and Herald St, London
Jessi Reaves and Robert Bittenbender, Crust of the Lake, 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Bridget Donahue, New York, and Herald St, London

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Jessi Reaves: Kitchen Arrangement organized by The Aldrich’s curator Amy Smith-Stewart and Berlin-based artist and curator David Adamo. Reaves’s exhibition will feature sculptural works such as seating, cabinetry, appliances, and lighting for the presentation on view from May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.

Kitchen Arrangement will offer an object-based experience that is an expression of the home’s primal epicenter: a social space essential to living and an area full of relational potentiality. Arguably the most experiential site in the house, the kitchen has also evolved into a particularly feminine space. As shown here, debate, inquiry, community, and experimental freedom ably congregate, so art and life can comfortably coalesce.

Jessi Reaves’s sculptures impersonate and inhabit functional design objects—sofas, chairs, ottomans, tables, bookcases, lamps, cabinets, and coat racks—as she imaginatively remasters existing furniture or composes her own to underscore an inherent performativity. The unlikely union of disparate materials, steel, drift wood, saw dust, zippers, plywood, and car fenders, endows her charismatic objects with signifying temperaments that span the shapely and sensuous and the misshapen and contorted. Riffing on well-known modern designers, like the Eameses, Noguchi, or Sottsass, Reaves liberates her materials from their highly polished veneers. She dissects, appends, or veils her anthropomorphized forms in order to reveal inimitable additive and reductive processes, such as curious decorative flourishes made with a distinctive blend of wood glue and sawdust, or wearable fabrics (nylons and silks) that render her eccentric craftsmanship perceptible. These hybrid objects, to which she imparts beguiling attributes, emphasize and destabilize an in-built potential for corporeal interactivity.

Jessi Reaves (b. 1986, Portland, OR) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Her work has been included in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, at venues including team gallery, inc., New York; Swiss Institute, New York; Herald St, London; and A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia, Italy. In 2016, Reaves presented her first solo gallery exhibition with Bridget Donahue, New York, and in 2017 her work was included in the Whitney Biennial. She lives and works in New York City.

Jessi Reaves: Kitchen Arrangement is one chapter in a series of concurrent exhibitions at The Aldrich brought together under the title The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, all of which explore the nature of small objects and our relationship to them.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Generous funding for the accompanying publication, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is
provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip and Shelley Fox Aarons.

Handheld

Handheld

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled (all four), 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo, photo by Sam Kahn
Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled (all four), 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo; Photo by Sam Kahn

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Handheld, a group exhibition that explores the contemporary meaning of touch by charting artists’, designers’, and makers’ various responses to objects scaled to the hand. Including works by Alma Allen, Aldo Bakker, Kathy Butterly, David Clarke, Iris Eichenberg, Laura Fischer, Jennifer Lee, Shari Mendelson, Jonathan Muecke, Ron Nagle, Kay Sekimachi, Christopher Taylor, Anne Wilson, Thaddeus Wolfe, and Shinya Yamamura, Handheld, organized by Elizabeth Essner, will be on view May 20, 2018 to January 13, 2019.

Touch is, in many ways, our most intimate sense, and our hands are its primary agents. Hands are meant to hold lots of things: pencils, babies, heavy pieces of furniture, other people’s hands. Yet, for many of us in today’s world, the feeling in our hands that is most familiar is the easy weight of our handheld devices. Today, touch increasingly takes the form of a swipe, where sensation is often ignored in favor of access to the flat visual landscapes of our own selection—a place where we can look at imagery as much as we want, but we cannot touch. However, as we think of traditional forms for our most precious things the words of grandmothers echo worldwide, “Look but don’t touch.” This surprising parallel between the domestic and the digital offers viewers a point of departure to consider the relationship between haptic and optic, hand and eye, in contemporary life.

Handheld takes a multifarious approach—the hand as means of creation, a formal frame of reference, and for the viewer, a source of both delight and tension as they experience sensual objects in familiar domestic forms, scaled for touch, that can be looked upon but not felt.

Materials are central to Handheld. Clay and metal can, quite literally, record fingerprints and movement, glass is blown with our breath, and fiber traces the finger’s work. These materials also happen to be those most familiar to our everyday: the feel of our favorite coffee cup, our faucet tap, our sheets as we climb into bed. Seeking questions rather than answers, Handheld uses the common language of the domestic to examine the complex role of the hand.

Elizabeth Essner is a Brooklyn-based independent curator and writer focused on modern and contemporary design, decorative arts, and craft. Recently a curatorial fellow for the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, she received her MA from the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design, History, Material Culture. Exhibition design by Jonathan Muecke.

Handheld is one chapter in a series of concurrent exhibitions brought together under the title The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, all of which explore the nature of small objects and our relationship to them.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and the

Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Generous funding for the accompanying exhibition publication, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, is provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Philip and Shelley Fox Aarons.

Robert Longo

Untitled (Dividing Time)

September 13, 2017, to October 11, 2017

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present the fourth public artwork in Creative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance series: Untitled (Dividing Time), by Robert Longo. The flag was raised on September 13 at The Aldrich and will be on view through October 11, 2017. The project is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by acclaimed artists to reflect the current political climate.

“I created this flag for Creative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance project based on a large-scale charcoal drawing I completed on the day of the
most recent presidential election. The drawing, Untitled (Nov. 8, 2016), consists of a left and right panel, with five inches separating them,” said artist Robert Longo. “I chose to draw the right panel larger but with fewer stars; my intention is to present the current symptomatic divide in the United States.”

Longo’s Pledges of Allegiance flag is based on the artist’s 2016 large-scale charcoal drawing, exhibited in Longo’s “The Destroyer Cycle” exhibition at Metro Pictures in New York City.

Creative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance project continues to grow and expand nationally. In a gesture of solidarity, Robert Longo’s flag will be raised simultaneously at the following ten locations:

1. Creative Time headquarters at 59 E 4th Street in New York, NY
2. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT
3. Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY
4. Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY
5. Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis
6. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) in Detroit, MI
7. RISD Museum at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI
8. University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, FL
9. 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, NC
10. KMAC Museum in Louisville, KY

Pledges of Allegiance is one of three major Longo projects currently showing in New York, Dividing Time is joined by the Brooklyn Museum’s Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo and the street-spanning public art installation American Bridge Project, curated by Creative Time board member Jill Brienza for Hunter College.

ABOUT THE ARTIST, ROBERT LONGO

Robert Longo (b. 1953) is a New York-based artist, filmmaker, and musician. He was among the five artists included in the seminal 1977 exhibition Pictures at Artists Space in New York. Longo has exhibited extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, including the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and the Whitney Biennial. He has had several retrospective exhibitions, including exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice. His latest solo exhibition, “The Destroyer Cycle” opened in May 2017 at Metro Pictures in New York City. Alongside Kate Fowle, Longo recently co-curated the exhibition at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, “PROOF: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo,” which is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum until January 2018. Robert Longo lives and works in New York and is represented by Metro Pictures, NYC; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg; and Capitain Petzel, Berlin.

ABOUT PLEDGES OF ALLEGIANCE

Pledges of Allegiance is a nationwide public art project by Creative Time. The project is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by acclaimed contemporary artists: Tania Bruguera, Alex Da Corte, Jeremy Deller, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ann Hamilton, Robert Longo, Josephine Meckseper, Marilyn Minter, Vik Muniz, Jayson Musson, Ahmet Ögüt, Yoko Ono, Trevor Paglen, Pedro Reyes, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Nari Ward.

Each flag embodies art’s ability to channel political passion, providing a unifying symbol around which to unite, as well as a call-to-action for institutions nationwide to raise upcoming Pledges of Allegiance flags in solidarity with Creative Time.

Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions, beginning with an urgent articulation of the political demands of the moment. Each flag points to an issue the artist is passionate about or a cause they believe is worth fighting for, and speaks to how we might move forward collectively as a country. To inaugurate the project, Creative Time raised Marilyn Minter’s RESIST FLAG on the roof of its headquarters on Flag Day, June 14.

Pledges of Allegiance was originally conceived by Alix Browne and developed in collaboration with Cian Browne, Fabienne Stephan, and Opening Ceremony.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley

Your Turn

Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley In Residence on Your Turn:
March 23 to 25

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley: Your Turn, an architectural environment for two that shapes the occupants’ behavior. In a series of performances Schweder and Shelley will physically occupy the structure for extended periods during which they will negotiate the sharing of nine basic amenities while engaging the public with their daily routines and conversations. Schweder and Shelley’s collaboration is primarily based on balance: not only the balance needed to successfully work in a partnership, but also the social balance needed to share resources limited by the confines of their construction. Their practice conflates architectural form and function with performance art, coaxing meaning out of both the practical and the absurd. The exhibition will be on view October 1, 2017 to April 22, 2018.

Schweder and Shelley’s unique collaboration of over a decade has coalesced into what they call “performance architecture,” a new genre in which the two artists design, construct, and then physically occupy structures, blurring the boundaries between architecture, sculpture, design, and performance, exploring both the nature of social space and the way architecture influences human behavior. For their exhibition at The Aldrich, they will construct a twenty-three-foot-high living environment, which they will inhabit as both the authors and living subjects of the work. An adjacent gallery will present the first survey of their reverse paintings on Mylar, which not only act as preliminary renderings for their projects, but also as autonomous works that reinforce the formal aspects of their practice.

The artists will occupy opposing sides of the monolith with nine amenities (including a bed, a desk, an easy chair, a kitchen, a sink, and an enclosed composting toilet), each of which will slide on steel tracks from one side of the structure to the other. So, when Shelley is sleeping in the bed, Schweder cannot sleep; when Schweder is writing at the desk, Shelley cannot use it. The sharing of the amenities is based on both a pre-planned schedule and spontaneous negotiation. For the performance periods the artists will wear identical jumpsuits, bring all necessary supplies with them, and occupy the structure twenty-four hours a day. The artists’ lives, while within the structure, will be on public view when the Museum is open, and visitors are free—in fact, are encouraged by the artists—to engage them in conversation. When awake, Schweder and Shelley will each read, work, prepare meals, and complete acts of simple daily hygiene.

Alex Schweder received a BA from the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, an MArch from Princeton University School of Architecture, and a PhD from the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, UK. Recent exhibitions include the 2014 Venice Biennale, the Tel Aviv Art Museum, the 2013 Moscow Biennial, the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Biennial, and the Tate Britain. He has been an artist in residence at the Kohler Company and the Chinati Foundation, and was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture at The American Academy in Rome.

Ward Shelley received a BFA from Eckard College and an MA from New York University. Solo exhibitions of his work include Pierogi Gallery, NY; Massimo Carasi Gallery, Milan; Center for Contemporary Art and Launch Projects, Santa Fe; and Socrates Sculpture Park, NY. He has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, an award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, two fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a fellowship from The American Academy in Rome.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley: Your Turn is generously supported by Crozier, Ridgefield Supply Company,and The Di Salvo Engineering Group. The official media partner for this exhibition is Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).

Anissa Mack

Junk Kaleidoscope

October 1, 2017, to April 22, 2018

Anissa Mack: Junk Kaleidoscope is a reflection on Mack’s The Fair project, realized in both 1996 and 2006, to be reimagined at the Museum from October 1, 2017, to April 22, 2018. Mack mines Americana, its artifacts, folklore, and rituals, and explores American vernacular traditions, examining their shifting role in a dialogue between the history of art making and the culture of collecting. Through all new objects, Junk Kaleidoscope will re-envision The Fair in a way that weaves together over two decades of work, sixty miles from the Durham Fair fairgrounds that inspired this project.

The Fair was first realized in 1996, when Mack entered all seventy-three craft categories at the Durham Fair, the largest agricultural fair in Connecticut; she had participatedin the fair, located near her hometown of Guilford, CT, throughout her childhood. In 2006, she remade the project as The Fair (10thAnniversary Edition) by generating new entries for all of the craft categories available that year. On both occasions, the objects were displayed at the fairs and then (re)presented in a commercial gallery with their winning ribbons. At The Aldrich, Mack will create a layered exhibition that engages fairs in new ways. For Junk Kaleidoscope, she will utilize a self-generated list of seventy categories—comprising actual competition categories collected from various county and state fairs, as well as those of her own invention—to generate and support the works in the show. The list will serve as a catalyst for production and as a framework for understanding the shifting, participatory display that the objects will enjoy at The Aldrich.

For Mack, “fairs serve as fascinatingly complex archives that mirror both ‘America’ and the art world.” Repetition, displacement, and distortion are constant concerns and the act of revisiting is an ongoing theme. Mack attends county and state fairs nationwide, where her experiences fundamentally reshape her approach to the creation and staging of her work. The atmosphere of the local fair and the environment of the artist’s studio share similar outtakes, as both are equally concerned with narrative, arrangement, and (e)valuation. Her appropriation of the fair’s system of categorization attempts to undo or rewrite storylines embedded within local material culture. These objects are symbolic containers of a collective memory that can travel across time. Ultimately, Mack positions herself as both an artist and maker, placing herself inside a subculture and adopting its system of classification for her own (re)invention. This enables Mack to move seamlessly between two distinctive locales and contexts, each of which has its own structure, methodology, and currency. The objects embody these alternating experiences and distinguishing histories.

The artist and the Museum invite the public to play a crucial role in Junk Kaleidoscope, through the All’s Fair program. In All’s Fair, participants will work directly with the artist, share their voice and vision, and collaborate with one another to re-install the objects in Mack’s exhibition in the Museum’s galleries in January 2018.

Anissa Mack (b. 1970, Guilford, CT) received her BA from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, in 1992 and her MFA from Temple University, Philadelphia, in 1996. Recent solo exhibitions include the Santa Barbara Contemporary Art Museum; Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; Josh Lilley Gallery, London; and Laurel Gitlen, New York. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Tanya Bonakdar, New York; amongst many others. She lives and works in New York City.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for Anissa Mack: Junk Kaleidoscope is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and The Amadeo Family.

Shared Space: A New Era

Shared Space: A New Era

October 1, 2017, to April 22, 2018

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Shared Space: A New Era, an exhibition of photographs and video from 1987 through 2010 that considers the world’s social, economic, and political climate over the past thirty years and how the growing impact of technology during this time, with radically increased and diversified communication, has introduced a new phase of globalization. This exhibition has been curated by Lillian Lambrechts from the Bank of America Collection and is on loan from its Art in our Communities® program.

Shared Space features contemporary artists from twelve countries: the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. These artists capture myriad spaces for communication and interaction—urban and rural landscapes,homes and backyards, city streets and plazas, and ports and terminals. The exhibition’s point of departure is 1987, a seminal year that marks the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and soon thereafter the fall of the Berlin Wall, events marking the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new age of international exchange.

Sze Tsung Leong’s cityscapes illustrate the impact of a global economy. Thomas Ruff’s and Günther Förg’s photographs show the rapid transformation of the built environment through images of Modernist architecture constructed upon utopian ideals, now derelict and failing to realize its original intention. Photographs by Raghubir Singh, Thomas Struth, and Massimo Vitali depict masses of people gathering in public spaces from Los Angeles to Vietnam, and the Netherlands—expressing an unprecedented universality of access to information. Despite the interconnectivity of this time, a distancing and disconnect remains between individuals and groups, near and afar, as evidenced in Ben Gest’s Jessica & Samantha (2003), family members in close physical proximity who seem deeply psychologically distanced from one another. Shared Space reminds viewers of their place in the world and their role and impact on current global and interpersonal affairs while also provoking them to consider how they will contribute to “shared space” in the future.

“Bank of America is committed to strengthening artistic institutions and in turn, the communities we serve,” said Bill Tommins, Bank of America Southern Connecticut Market President. “Sharing our collection with the public through partners such as The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum not only makes business sense for the bank, but also helps support museums in Connecticut.”

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Shared Space: A New Era is generously supported by the Bank of America Art in our Communities® program and Crozier.

Tony Matelli

Hera

May 6, 2017, to January 1, 2018

Tony Matelli, Hera, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Contemporary, New York.
Tony Matelli, Hera, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Contemporary, New York.

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Tony Matelli’s Hera, a monumental sculpture, as part of the Main Street Sculpture series, which offers an opportunity for artists to create site-specific work for The Aldrich’s most public site, the front lawn. Matelli will debut his singular, larger-than-life-size outdoor figurative sculpture on May 6, 2017. This work is an extension of Matelli’s Garden Sculptures series, initiated in 2015, in which he defaces garden statuary of classical or religious icons and subverts material expectation. Based on an ancient Greek statue of Hera and poised atop a pedestal, the statue, fabricated out of cast stone, is painstakingly aged to mimic a centuries old patina. An imposing nine-feet tall and sited on a three-foot tall pedestal, the neo-classical figure will be juxtaposed with flawlessly hand-painted cast bronze watermelons, whole, halved, and quartered, that balance upon her head, within the creases and folds of her drapery, and at her feet. These faux-perishables, poised upon the intentionally eroded and debased figure, are presented in an eternal state of freshness. In doing so, Matelli stages opposing entropic forces, the synthetically preserved, and the forcibly decayed. Spanning sculpture and painting, Matelli’s hyperreal practice embodies the human condition. Suspended in changing physical states or transformative stages of existence, his work concerns the very circumstance of actuality, joining the ordinary with the speculative in order to assess cultural worth: what people keep or abandon, what appears to be in or out of place, and what seems pleasing or distasteful. Often provocative and hallucinatory, Matelli’s work expresses excess, neglect, decomposition, and regeneration, the upturned and the adrift, the romantic and the surreal. At The Aldrich, Matelli’s colossal sculpture of a familiar mythological figure may read as a modern memento mori, or as a devotional offering to a saccharine present, cast against a corrosive past. Ridgefield, a Revolutionary-era Colonial town with a landmarked Main Street, is a befitting location for this tragicomic siting, as Matelli’s ancient giant testifies to history as theatrical backdrop. Tony Matelli (b. 1971, Chicago) received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 1993 and his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995. Recent solo exhibitions include the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; the Davis Museum, MA; Künsterlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. A mid-career survey, Tony Matelli: A Human Echo, premiered at the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark in 2012 and traveled to the Bergen Kunstmuseum, Norway in 2013. His work is in numerous public collections including the FLAG Art Foundation, NY; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark; and the National Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia, among others. He lives and works in New York City.

Organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, x 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Tony Matelli: Hera is generously supported by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and Crozier.

Jack Whitten Awarded with Third Annual A2A Award January 2017

May, 2017

Artist Jack Whitten will receive the third annual A2A Award at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s annual Gala Benefit and Auction on May 6, 2017. Past recipients include Tom Sachs and Jackie Winsor.

Kay Rosen: H Is For House

H Is for House is Kay Rosen’s first solo museum exhibition in the northeast in almost twenty years. This exhibition premieres a series of new works, all painted in black and white, which the artist has completed since 2015.

Rosen’s text-based works use formalism, linguistics, and humor to reveal content that is hidden within both the structural nature of written language and the ways in which meaning can be generated through the manipulation of text. The exhibition will include fourteen works on paper, as well as two monumental wall paintings, the largest incorporating two walls and covering over 700 square feet. Rosen approaches written language as structure, with words and letterforms functioning as building blocks, and where, through unusual typographic arrangements, words and phrases can embody the thing they are describing. Rosen has created these new wall paintings to play off the interior space of the Museum, using the existing architecture to amplify each work’s content. Similarly, the vertical “architecture” of the paper works sets up a space for the text to play off, guiding meaning, letter orientation and size, and number of lines. Turning architect Louis Sullivan’s dictum that “form follows function” on its head, Rosen’s works take the forms inherent in text to create new functions for the written word.

The title H Is for House references both the alphabet—the raw material of Rosen’s work—and the architectural nature of the works included in the exhibition. The vertical portrait format relates both to the figure and the pull of gravity, and the atypical disruptions of the text have the curious quality of effecting bodily orientation, with the viewer’s eyes being put into the position of twisting to accommodate the off-kilter compositions. Related to, but different from the genre of concrete poetry, Rosen’s wordplays creatively reinforce the relationship between form and meaning.

Kay Rosen (b. 1943, Corpus Christi, TX) studied languages and linguistics at Newcomb College at Tulane University and received her MA in linguistics from Northwestern University. Realizing that the aspects of language that most interested her needed to be expressed visually, for the past four decades Rosen has channeled her exploration of language through color, scale, art materials, and non-linear composition. Her work is included in many public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Rosen currently lives and works in Gary, IN ,and New York, and teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.orgT 06877

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

William Powhida: After the Contemporary

William Powhida: After the Contemporary, a fictive review of today’s art world from the year 2050, is Powhida’s first solo museum exhibition and will draw from a variety of academic, curatorial, philosophical, and sociological sources, as well as the genre of speculative fiction.

For more than a decade Powhida’s work has provided a satirical, political, and sometimes despairing window into his own experience of New York’s contemporary art market. Beneath it all, he has also been tracing the outline of another, more ambitious project as he tries to answer—for himself, his peers, and the world in general—what is the strange, slippery, sometimes contradictory and farcical thing we call “Contemporary Art.” Is Contemporary Art a specific period of art history, like Modern Art? If so, what are its characteristics? Will we know when it’s over? And more importantly, what does Contemporary Art suggest about the future of society?

The less than reliable curatorial voice from Powhida’s future proposes an authoritative account of our present and near future through institutional forms—wall texts, videos, an exhibition catalogue, as well as fictional works of art, speculative drawings, and research-based diagrams, that point to the ways exhibitions shape and reflect histories. Specifically, the exhibition examines the role of the art market in defining the Contemporary through the presentation of a new gallery model for art fairs that emerged in the early twentieth century as a “period room,” within an alternative future wing of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum which has had to make certain adjustments due to global ecological and economic turmoil.

William Powhida (b. 1976, New York, NY) received his BFA in Painting with Honors from Syracuse University in 1998 and his MFA in Painting from Hunter College in 2002. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Postmasters Gallery, New York; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles; Casa Maauad, Mexico City; Gallery Paulsen, Copenhagen; and Marlborough Gallery, New York. In addition to being an artist, Powhida is an active critic and writer whose work has been published in The Art Newspaper, Creative Time Reports, ArtFCity, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, and Artnet. He lives and works in New York City.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for William Powhida: After the Contemporary is provided by The Stolbun Collection, Raymond Learsy, Seymour and Carol Cole Levin, Kim and Larry Heyman, Noah McCormack, Cebert S.J. Noonan, and Janet Phelps.

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Beth Campbell: My Potential Future Past

Beth Campbell: My Potential Future Past is Campbell’s first museum survey. This exhibition will present three interrelated bodies of work, the Potential Future Drawings series (1998–present), Mobiles (2008–present), and the Future Past Drawings series (2014–present).

Campbell’s practice ranges from drawing to sculpture and installation, and centers on an extensive exploration of the potential latent within everyday experience. She exploits the “what ifs,” channeling those life choices that shape who we think we want to be or who we might really become. In Campbell’s world, objects are personified, rooms multiply, mirrors become portals, and streaming thoughts predict future outcomes. She exposes the inherent beingness underlying daily phenomena through a manipulation of reality, an externalization of internal sensations, and a deft employment of humor, ultimately challenging our perception of the human dimension.

In 1998, Campbell introduced her now-acclaimed Potential Future Drawings series, channeling the Surrealists to give tangible shape to interior monologues. She begins with an event in her own life, and then uses a diagrammatic system to create a latticework of potential outcomes from the most wanted to the most devastating. Campbell mirrors our inward desire for mass acceptance and wide success, while also tapping into our general fear of ultimate failure and crushing embarrassment. The mobiles inspired by the formal acceptance of these mind maps, and appear like chandeliers, or vascular or root systems, function as abstract drawings in space as seen in My Mother’s House (2016). Comprised of bent steel and wire, some in taut primary colors, they vary in size—from body size to architecturally scaled—and cast shadows and create pulsating optical patterns that mime the circulatory matrix of her drawings. The Future Past Drawings series, initiated in 2014, includes the newest work in the exhibition. All the drawings in this series are on black paper and, like the Potential Future Drawings, they operate as a flowing feed; reflecting back and looking forward, they conflate personal and historical experience, in the end considering how subjectivity reshapes the past to condition the future.

Beth Campbell (b. 1971, Illinois) received her BFA from Truman State University in 1989, her MFA from Ohio University in 1997, and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1997. Her work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. She lives and works in New York City.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for Beth Campbell: My Potential Future Past is provided by Bart McDonough and Cheryl Horner.

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Suzanne McClelland: Just Left Feel Right

Suzanne McClelland: Just Left Feel Right, is McClelland’s first museum survey. Spanning twenty-five years, Just Left Feel Right focuses on works from specific periods of her career that share a distinctive commonality, capturing the eruptive and disparate voices of a shifting American vernacular and its rippling effect on the way we communicate in our hyperkinetic time.

McClelland is most widely known for her deft use of linguistics and her sensually textured surfaces. She mines the ways in which communities speak, collecting language and choosing words that trend, are debated, heard on street corners, and absorbed from streaming news feeds; words that are rich in meaning, that reach and multiply, that drop in and out of everyday life. The words she selects hover between materials; letters press up against each other, run off the surface, join together, dissolve, loop, and collide into and onto themselves. Employing a wide range of materials, her compositions have a rhythm and beat as they perform, throb, and swagger, capturing the cadences of our speech, mimicking the physicality of how people express themselves. Pauses, utterances, and hysteria, the inflection of tone and the modulation of our tempo, bodily expressions and gesticulations, all are translated into painterly rhythmic compositions modeled after oratory repartee.

McClelland seizes these audible sensations, stealing words right out of the mouth, but also embodying our micro-expressions. In 2012, she began to incorporate numbers into her work as a reaction to the data onslaught of the Internet age. A mind-numbing rush of streaming lists for everything and anything are published on the Web. McClelland, a collector of messaging, in particular emotive and directional information, began researching the data that represents the individual and vice versa. This endless data stream is how twenty-first century society forecasts outcomes: from steady news spills that flood the imaginations, to engineering distorted images about identity and body type, and (in)forming biased estimates and postures. With the rise of social media as a primary source of content, opinion is now often misread as “news.”

This survey will include a seminal painting from the series Right (1993), originally shown as part of a group of paintings in the 1993 Whitney Biennial; the painting series Rap Sheet (2010-13), portraits of early female rap and hip hop artists during the “Roxanne Wars” in the Bronx; the painting series Action Objects (2010); paintings from the series Left (2011); the debut of three new paintings from the Before Tomorrow series (2015-16); and the premiere of a new site-engaged installation, third party (2016-17), which will incorporate materials such as glass, ceramic, and paint. Just Left Feel Right will also include many other never-before-exhibited works from past and current series.

Suzanne McClelland (b. 1959, Jacksonville, FL) received a BFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor 1981. She moved to New York that year and later attended the School of Visual Arts MFA program, graduating in 1989. McClelland’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication, available during the exhibition, intended to serve as an enduring archival document and limited-edition artwork. It will include images of the works in the exhibition, a checklist, an essay by the curator, and a poster designed by the artist.

Organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for Suzanne McClelland: Just Left Feel Right is provided by by Agnes Gund, GS Gives, Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, James Cottrell and Joseph Lovett, Seymour and Carol Cole Levin, Carole Server and Oliver Frankel, and Thomson Family Philanthropy, NYC.

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Exhibition

Kay Rosen

H Is for House

March 5, 2017, to September 4, 2017

Kay Rosen, Head Over Heels, 2017; Courtesy of the artist
H Is for House, 2017; Courtesy of the artist


H Is for House is Kay Rosen’s first solo museum exhibition in the northeast in almost twenty years. This exhibition premieres a series of new works, all painted in black and white, which the artist has completed since 2015. Rosen’s text-based works use formalism, linguistics, and humor to reveal content that is hidden within both the structural nature of written language and the ways in which meaning can be generated through the manipulation of text. The exhibition will include fourteen works on paper, as well as two monumental wall paintings, the largest incorporating two walls and covering over 700 square feet. Rosen approaches written language as structure, with words and letterforms functioning as building blocks, and where, through unusual typographic arrangements, words and phrases can embody the thing they are describing. Rosen has created these new wall paintings to play off the interior space of the Museum, using the existing architecture to amplify each work’s content. Similarly, the vertical “architecture” of the paper works sets up a space for the text to play off, guiding meaning, letter orientation and size, and number of lines. Turning architect Louis Sullivan’s dictum that “form follows function” on its head, Rosen’s works take the forms inherent in text to create new functions for the written word.

The title H Is for House references both the alphabet—the raw material of Rosen’s work—and the architectural nature of the works included in the exhibition. The vertical portrait format relates both to the figure and the pull of gravity, and the atypical disruptions of the text have the curious quality of effecting bodily orientation, with the viewer’s eyes being put into the position of twisting to accommodate the off-kilter compositions. Related to, but different from the genre of concrete poetry, Rosen’s wordplays creatively reinforce the relationship between form and meaning.

Kay Rosen (b. 1943, Corpus Christi, TX) studied languages and linguistics at Newcomb College at Tulane University and received her MA in linguistics from Northwestern University. Realizing that the aspects of language that most interested her needed to be expressed visually, for the past four decades Rosen has channeled her exploration of language through color, scale, art materials, and non-linear composition. Her work is included in many public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Rosen currently lives and works in Gary, IN ,and New York, and teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Exhibition

William Powhida

After the Contemporary

March 5, 2017, to September 4, 2017

William Powhida, After the Contemporary (installation view), 2017
William Powhida, After the Contemporary (installation view), 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery


For more than a decade Powhida’s work has provided a satirical, political, and sometimes despairing window into his own experience of New York’s contemporary art market. Beneath it all, he has also been tracing the outline of another, more ambitious project as he tries to answer—for himself, his peers, and the world in general—what is the strange, slippery, sometimes contradictory and farcical thing we call “Contemporary Art.” Is Contemporary Art a specific period of art history, like Modern Art? If so, what are its characteristics? Will we know when it’s over? And more importantly, what does Contemporary Art suggest about the future of society?

The less than reliable curatorial voice from Powhida’s future proposes an authoritative account of our present and near future through institutional forms—wall texts, videos, an exhibition catalogue, as well as fictional works of art, speculative drawings, and research-based diagrams, that point to the ways exhibitions shape and reflect histories. Specifically, the exhibition examines the role of the art market in defining the Contemporary through the presentation of a new gallery model for art fairs that emerged in the early twentieth century as a “period room,” within an alternative future wing of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum which has had to make certain adjustments due to global ecological and economic turmoil. William Powhida (b. 1976, New York, NY) received his BFA in Painting with Honors from Syracuse University in 1998 and his MFA in Painting from Hunter College in 2002. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Postmasters Gallery, New York; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles; Casa Maauad, Mexico City; Gallery Paulsen, Copenhagen; and Marlborough Gallery, New York. In addition to being an artist, Powhida is an active critic and writer whose work has been published in The Art Newspaper, Creative Time Reports, ArtFCity, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, and Artnet. He lives and works in New York City. A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition. Organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for William Powhida: After the Contemporary is provided by The Stolbun Collection, Raymond Learsy, Seymour and Carol Cole Levin, Kim and Larry Heyman, Noah McCormack, Cebert S.J. Noonan, and Janet Phelps. Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Exhibition

Beth Campbell

My Potential Future Past

March 5, 2017, to September 4, 2017

Beth Campbell, My Potential Future Past (installation view), 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Kate Werble Gallery, New York
Beth Campbell, My Potential Future Past (installation view), 2017; Courtesy of the artist and Kate Werble Gallery, New York


Beth Campbell: My Potential Future Past is Campbell’s first museum survey. This exhibition will present three interrelated bodies of work, the Potential Future Drawings series (1998–present), Mobiles (2008–present), and the Future Past Drawings series (2014–present). Campbell’s practice ranges from drawing to sculpture and installation, and centers on an extensive exploration of the potential latent within everyday experience. She exploits the “what ifs,” channeling those life choices that shape who we think we want to be or who we might really become. In Campbell’s world, objects are personified, rooms multiply, mirrors become portals, and streaming thoughts predict future outcomes. She exposes the inherent beingness underlying daily phenomena through a manipulation of reality, an externalization of internal sensations, and a deft employment of humor, ultimately challenging our perception of the human dimension.

In 1998, Campbell introduced her now-acclaimed Potential Future Drawings series, channeling the Surrealists to give tangible shape to interior monologues. She begins with an event in her own life, and then uses a diagrammatic system to create a latticework of potential outcomes from the most wanted to the most devastating. Campbell mirrors our inward desire for mass acceptance and wide success, while also tapping into our general fear of ultimate failure and crushing embarrassment. The mobiles inspired by the formal acceptance of these mind maps, and appear like chandeliers, or vascular or root systems, function as abstract drawings in space as seen in My Mother’s House (2016). Comprised of bent steel and wire, some in taut primary colors, they vary in size—from body size to architecturally scaled—and cast shadows and create pulsating optical patterns that mime the circulatory matrix of her drawings. The Future Past Drawings series, initiated in 2014, includes the newest work in the exhibition. All the drawings in this series are on black paper and, like the Potential Future Drawings, they operate as a flowing feed; reflecting back and looking forward, they conflate personal and historical experience, in the end considering how subjectivity reshapes the past to condition the future.

Beth Campbell (b. 1971, Illinois) received her BFA from Truman State University in 1989, her MFA from Ohio University in 1997, and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1997. Her work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. She lives and works in New York City.

A full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication will be available during the exhibition.

Organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for Beth Campbell: My Potential Future Past is provided by Bart McDonough and Cheryl Horner.

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Exhibition

Suzanne McClelland

Just Left Feel Right

March 5, 2017, to September 4, 2017

Suzanne McClelland, Just Left Feel Right (installation view), 2017; Courtesy of the artist.
Suzanne McClelland, Just Left Feel Right (installation view), 2017; Courtesy of the artist.



Suzanne McClelland: Just Left Feel Right, is McClelland’s first museum survey. Spanning twenty-five years, Just Left Feel Right focuses on works from specific periods of her career that share a distinctive commonality, capturing the eruptive and disparate voices of a shifting American vernacular and its rippling effect on the way we communicate in our hyperkinetic time.

McClelland is most widely known for her deft use of linguistics and her sensually textured surfaces. She mines the ways in which communities speak, collecting language and choosing words that trend, are debated, heard on street corners, and absorbed from streaming news feeds; words that are rich in meaning, that reach and multiply, that drop in and out of everyday life. The words she selects hover between materials; letters press up against each other, run off the surface, join together, dissolve, loop, and collide into and onto themselves. Employing a wide range of materials, her compositions have a rhythm and beat as they perform, throb, and swagger, capturing the cadences of our speech, mimicking the physicality of how people express themselves. Pauses, utterances, and hysteria, the inflection of tone and the modulation of our tempo, bodily expressions and gesticulations, all are translated into painterly rhythmic compositions modeled after oratory repartee.

McClelland seizes these audible sensations, stealing words right out of the mouth, but also embodying our micro-expressions. In 2012, she began to incorporate numbers into her work as a reaction to the data onslaught of the Internet age. A mind-numbing rush of streaming lists for everything and anything are published on the Web. McClelland, a collector of messaging, in particular emotive and directional information, began researching the data that represents the individual and vice versa. This endless data stream is how twenty-first century society forecasts outcomes: from steady news spills that flood the imaginations, to engineering distorted images about identity and body type, and (in)forming biased estimates and postures. With the rise of social media as a primary source of content, opinion is now often misread as “news.”

This survey will include a seminal painting from the series Right (1993), originally shown as part of a group of paintings in the 1993 Whitney Biennial; the painting series Rap Sheet (2010-13), portraits of early female rap and hip hop artists during the “Roxanne Wars” in the Bronx; the painting series Action Objects (2010); paintings from the series Left (2011); the debut of three new paintings from the Before Tomorrow series (2015-16); and the premiere of a new site-engaged installation, third party (2016-17), which will incorporate materials such as glass, ceramic, and paint. Just Left Feel Right will also include many other never-before-exhibited works from past and current series.

Suzanne McClelland (b. 1959, Jacksonville, FL) received a BFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor 1981. She moved to New York that year and later attended the School of Visual Arts MFA program, graduating in 1989. McClelland’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color, soft-cover scholarly publication, available during the exhibition, intended to serve as an enduring archival document and limited-edition artwork. It will include images of the works in the exhibition, a checklist, an essay by the curator, and a poster designed by the artist.

Organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

For press inquiries, please contact Emily Devoe at 203.438.4519, extension 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org

Generous funding for Suzanne McClelland: Just Left Feel Right is provided by Agnes Gund, GS Gives, Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, James Cottrell and Joseph Lovett, Seymour and Carol Cole Levin, Carole Server and Oliver Frankel, and Thomson Family Philanthropy, NYC.

Major funding for exhibitions is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; and Crozier. Additional support is provided by Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury.

Exhibition

Virginia Overton

May 1, 2016, to February 5, 2017

Virginia Overton is a site-responsive artist. She makes sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos that relate to and interact with a venue’s architecture and defining landscape. Ultimately, what she achieves is work that is implicitly site referential, as she underscores an environment’s unassuming or extraordinary attributes by engaging the sensory features of the material.

Her sculptures and installations appear minimally composed, but their engagement with the features of a space—as well as its exterior and the landscape—generates a maximalist sensation from an efficiency of means. Performative by nature, her chosen materials are stimulated by the specificity of their situation; always initiated by the execution of a deliberate action, they maintain a relational experience predicated on a “being there” aesthetic.

Overton’s approach to the exhibition process is a combination of research and on-site decision making. For The Aldrich, she has created thirteen site-reactive sculptures and a video, presented inside the galleries, in the Sculpture Garden, and on the roofline. Each informs the other as the works reverberate throughout the building and boomerang out onto the grounds, offering multiple lines of sight. Many of the sculptures are composed of elements harvested from a dead eastern white pine felled on the Museum’s grounds. Some works feature indigenous materials scavenged on the premises alongside items Overton collected at the studio or recycled from past installations. Overton transposes the energy encapsulated within these objects, draining them of their normative purpose, and imparting them and their circumstances with a new functionality.

Whether reflecting the architectural features of a gallery or the contours of a natural landscape, Overton assesses the material—studying and learning its physical properties, seeing how far it can go, how much it can withstand—as it is processed through countless hours of experimentation. Once installed, her space-shifting sculptures and installations, through a process of re-articulation, demonstrate the inherent being-ness of an object, its materiality, its connection to a specific place at a particular time, inviting the viewer to navigate it anew as elements emerge and vanish from up close and at a distance.

- Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

Virginia Overton was born in 1971 in Nashville, Tennessee; she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Virginia Overton, Untitled (Suspended log), 2016; Courtesy of the artist

Generous support for Virginia Overton is provided by White Cube and Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich.

Exhibition

Kim Jones

White Crow

May 1, 2016, to February 5, 2017

During a career that now spans over four decades, Kim Jones has created a singular and subjective body of work based on both extreme personal experience and a wide range of artistic influences. Commentary about his work often dwells on details of his biography, which include surviving a severe childhood illness and serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War. These facts certainly have a bearing on understanding aspects of his output, but Jones’s life story has a tendency to induce a viewer to presuppose meaning prior to direct acquaintance, a situation that can limit interpretation. The artist’s history, however, has clearly led to his thinking of himself as an outsider, and this estrangement has been played out throughout his career with an interrelated series of performances, sculptures, drawings, and writings that are defined by a range of elemental and expressionistic impulses. The title of this exhibition, White Crow, refers to the extremely rare occurrence when a crow is born without any pigment in its plumage. This marks the bird as not only an outsider, but also, in folk mythology, as an omen of impending change. It should be noted that Jones thinks of White Crow, which includes some individual elements that Jones has worked on over a thirty-year period, as one continuous installation, echoing the importance of memory and the life he has lived in his practice as an artist.

In this exhibition, the crow and the rat (an animal that is featured in much of Jones’s work) appear repeatedly, connecting a series of indoor installations with what is one of the artist’s largest outdoor site-specific works to date. This installation, which was created during a ten-day residency at the Museum, involved the transformation of a grove of four small crabapple trees in front of The Aldrich into a festooned and wrapped sculpture. Additionally, Jones has utilized the Museum’s camera obscura, a small room that looks out towards the grove of crabapples, for an installation involving both sculpture and wall drawing. This includes the camera obscura’s projected image of the area around the trees, linking his intervention in the landscape with the indoor environment. It should be noted that the camera obscura is the only place in the exhibition where a white crow appears, perched in the center of the camera’s upside-down photographic image.

Included in White Crow, and augmented by a surrounding drawing done directly on the gallery wall, is one of Jones’s “war drawings,” a continuing series that he began as a teenager in the late 1950s. Jones didn’t show his war drawings for many years, tentatively exhibiting them for the first time in 1980. Obsessive and labyrinthine, these drawings evoke the diagrammatic battle drawings done by children with their aerial perspective, weapon trajectory lines, and geographical and architectural abstraction. True to his overall approach to art making, the war drawings are never finished (until they leave the artist’s possession), being worked and reworked over extended periods.

Comparing a war drawing with one of the artist’s spiky wood constructions, the viewer is struck by a formal similarity: an organization of space that is tentative, web-like, and subject to forces of both creation and destruction. Jones’s constructions resemble the primitive—yet strong—bamboo scaffolding that is used in Asia, or the protective, quill- covered back of a porcupine; they frequently have specific references to the body, including pantyhose-wrapped and painted elements that resemble viscera, and surfaces covered by crepuscular, biomorphic drawing.

Many of the sculptures in White Crow include children’s toys as elements, and one work, which is constructed on top of a “Big Wheel,” incorporates a group of toy soldiers that Jones played with as a child. In the Museum’s Sound Gallery, the artist has created a school classroom* of sorts: a strange tableau that reflects on his interest in blurring the boundaries between humankind and the natural world. This use of toys and the references to childhood point once more to the importance of memory and recollection in Jones’s work.

- Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Kim Jones was born in 1944 in San Bernardino, California; he lives and works in New York City.

Kim Jones, Untitled (Big Wheel), 1973-1985-1999; Courtesy of the artist and ZENO X GALLERY, Antwerp

Generous support for Kim Jones: White Crow is provided by ZENO X GALLERY, Antwerp, and JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey.

Exhibition

Peter Liversidge

Proposals for The Aldrich…

May 1, 2016, to February 5, 2017

For the past decade, Peter Liversidge’s practice has focused on the creation of conceptually based proposals that describe artworks that might—or might not—be realized. Typed on an Olivetti manual typewriter, these proposals—complete with typographical errors and hand annotations—describe ideas from the practical to the far-fetched. Liversidge wrote sixty proposals for The Aldrich (all of the typescripts are included in the exhibition), and twenty-three have been chosen for realization, guided by the concept of connecting the interior of The Aldrich Museum with both the surrounding landscape and the community. These include working with the employees of Ridgefield Hardware, the town’s hardware store, to write a song about the store that they will publically perform;* ring a cannonball into the Museum’s wall in reference to the action during the Revolutionary War that led to a British cannonball being embedded in the wall of the Keeler Tavern, Ridgefield’s Colonial-era historical site; and the fabrication of nine shallow, circular aluminum pans whose relative sizes correspond to the nine largest lakes in Connecticut, with the pans being subsequently filled with water from the specific lakes.

Liversidge’s way of working echoes some forms of conceptual art from the 1960s and 1970s in that the realization of his ideas is open to interpretation by others. He doesn’t confine his thought process to a limited range of media; rather, he allows his imagination free rein, believing that art can be made from almost any raw material or utilize almost any human activity. His physical works are usually created by simple, transitory actions; his performative works commonly utilize people who don’t think of themselves as performers.

The artist sees his proposals as gentle invitations, not explicit instructions—which is different from most art that is based on written directives—and the realization of a specific proposal is always open to negotiation, a fact that reveals his interest in expanding conventional notions of authorship. He is just as interested in the proposals that are not realized, as they are ready to be brought to life in the imagination of each reader. Liversidge’s work stands as a reminder that the execution of a simple idea can result in anything but a simple outcome.

Proposal No. 12, the installation of twelve groups of RGB (red, green, blue) lights in public locations in Ridgefield, is one of the artist’s proposals that has been realized. The Museum would like to thank the restaurants, shops, and other venues that have participated: The Ancient Mariner Restaurant, Books on the Common, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Dog and Pony Restaurant, Guilded Lynx, Hutton’s Fine Menswear, Luc’s Café, Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, Ridgefield Library, and Ridgefield Town Hall. Two of the groups have been installed at The Aldrich: one in the South Gallery and the other on the Museum’s porch.

- Richard Klein, exhibitions director

Peter Liversidge was born in 1973 in Lincoln, UK; he lives and works in London.

* The performance by the staff of Ridgefield Hardware will be part of a day of community activities at The Aldrich on July 9, which will also include the realization of Liversidge’s Proposal No. 17, the presentation of a free public meal that features sausages made to the artist’s grandfather’s recipe; and Proposal No. 51, the creation of a public sculpture by 100 Museum visitors out of 100 rolls of pennies.

Peter Liversidge, Proposal for The Aldrich Museum No. 20: Wooden Mail Objects, 2016; First group of objects posted to The Aldrich from London for installation on “postal shelf” in Museum; Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Generous support for Peter Liversidge: Proposals for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is provided by Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, and Francis H. Williams and Keris Salmon.

Exhibition

David Brooks

Continuous Service Altered Daily

May 1, 2016, to February 5, 2017


Continuous Service Altered Daily is a site-engaged sculptural array, or, as David Brooks refers to it, an “asteroid field without a distinctive beginning or end.” Brooks has disemboweled a beacon of agricultural technology, a 1976 John Deere 3300 series combine harvester, into hundreds of individual components, ranging from the iconic and specific to the common and standard. He has arranged every part, with not a single piece excluded, in an ambling procession that begins in the Museum’s front plaza, winds through the Atrium, front first-floor galleries, the inner courtyard, and ends in the Sculpture Garden. The project is understood as one continuous action that is expressed in a myriad of sculptural moments. From the macro to the micro, Brooks’s installation concurrently zooms in and out of view, wedging us inside the far off and the up close.

Brooks’s method of presentation offers the machine’s shell and innards in varying degrees of material transformation: 1) in its weathered condition, but with its trademark John Deere green still visible; 2) sandblasted to remove all evidence of wear and tear, returning the object back to its material origin; 3) brass plated; 4) powder coated, elevating the individualized status of the pieces as precious objects. Brooks uses the distinctive form and function of the disassembled combine analogously, allowing it to mirror the philosophical impasse at which we find ourselves as our hyperkinetic era faces an escalating ecological crisis.

The installation stages a metaphor. A combine harvester provides a quantifiable service: it reaps crops like grain and corn. Its individual elements and multitudinous functions are impossible to observe underneath its heavy metal shell, defying any one person’s perceptual capacity. Through an elaborate mechanization of moving parts it produces a product. Similarly, an ecosystem, representing a complex set of organisms and their environment functioning together, serves a life-sustaining purpose (clean air, food, energy, and filtered water) and is mistakenly likened to a mechanized instrument. Its interconnection to its natural environs and the greater planet is not only invisible, but promulgates a mistaken perception that these functions can be reduced to mere “services” available in perpetuity. Brooks makes a compelling visual correspondence here. He has chosen to group the machine parts into nine zones that represent nine ecosystem services that occur continuously in our biosphere and upon which we rely daily: water purification, pollination, disease regulation, decomposition, air purification, habitat formation, photosynthesis (primary production), ornamental resources, and erosion and flood control.

Continuous Service Altered Daily ultimately attempts to channel evolutionary time. A 1976 John Deere combine is a symbol of nineteenth-century innovation updated in a twentieth-century model. Brooks captures this progression through four stages of presentation, and thus likens it to the processes of interconnected life forms themselves. The wear and tear over its forty-year existence is self-evident in a rusty green corn head (past). The machine is then stripped of its lived history as its age is sandblasted away (present). Shiny objects with a fetish finish are re-presented as ornaments or modernist tabletop sculptures (future). But this is a temporal arrangement, one that marks time and space by compressing it within a schematic system that is itself impermanent.

- Amy Smith-Stewart, curator

David Brooks was born in 1975 in Brazil, Indiana; he lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

David Brooks, Disassembly of combine for Continuous Service Altered Daily, 2016; Photo by David Gelfman

Generous support for David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily is provided by Brad and Sunny Goldberg.

Virginia Overton

Ridgefield, CT (May 2016): A monumental interactive tree swing is the focal point of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s presentation of the work of Virginia Overton as part of Site Lines: Four Solo Exhibitions Engaging Place. The exhibition, which will be on view through February 5, 2017, presents Overton’s newly commissioned sculptures within the galleries, on the surrounding campus, and atop the Museum’s roof. Suspended on a free-standing steel armature, the swing is comprised of the approximately 12-foot-long debarked trunk of a felled eastern white pine tree from the Museum’s grounds. Other sculptural works were fabricated on-site during the installation period, incorporating elements harvested from the tree as well as items found around the Museum property and neighboring community. Perched on the Museum’s signature pitched roofline, which emulates the historic Colonial homes lining Main Street, is a newly commissioned weather vane, part of an ongoing series initiated by Overton in 2013.

Curator Amy Smith-Stewart describes Overton’s process, “Whether reflecting the architectural features of a gallery or the contours of a natural landscape, Overton physically wrangles her material—studying and learning its physical properties, seeing how far it can go, how much it can withstand—as it is processed through countless hours of experimentation. Once installed, her space-shifting sculptures and installations produce shadows, light leaks, and sound echoes that, through a process of re- articulation, demonstrate the inherent beingness of an object, its materiality, its connection to a specific place at a particular time, inviting the viewer to navigate it anew.” Overton (born 1971, Nashville, Tennessee) utilizes sculpture, installation, and photography to relate to and interact with a venue’s architecture and defining landscape. Her sculptures and interventions are made up of indigenous readymade objects and materials Overton scavenges from within the surrounding community. Growing up in the rural south on a Tennessee farm, Overton’s innate sensitivity to the land, and its inherent economic value, has instilled in her an intuitive understanding of the energetic potential to be harnessed and reaped from both her materials and her environment.

Generous support for Virginia Overton is provided by White Cube and Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich.

Site Lines: Four Solo Exhibitions Engaging Place

Virginia Overton is part of Site Lines: Four Solo Exhibitions Engaging Place, which opened with a public reception on May 1, 2106. This series of exhibitions also features David Brooks, Kim Jones, and Peter Liversidge, presenting site-specific commissions, ranging from sculpture to drawing and performance-based works. The exhibitions encompass both the monumental and the ephemeral, intersecting, interconnecting, or mirroring the Museum’s galleries and two-acre Sculpture Garden, as well as the surrounding community. The artists utilize materials found on or indigenous to the grounds and the area, offering a response to “site” that underscores the institution’s material history and its visual condition by transforming scale and circumstance. The works seek to “frame” the view within and beyond of the galleries against the natural landscape while also accentuating the Museum’s unique architectural features, such as a pitched roofline, paned windows, and a room-scale camera obscura. Viewers are able to respond to works from multiple vantage points as they move around the Museum’s galleries, grounds, and the surrounding environs. Gravel Mirror (1968), a work by the influential artist and writer Robert Smithson, incorporated gravel found on the grounds of The Aldrich, and was a significant touchstone for the development of this exhibition series.

Major funding for the Site Lines exhibitions is provided by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation. Additional support is provided by Danbury Audi and DEDON.

CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) is the official media partner of the exhibition series.

The Artist

Overton was born in Nashville, Tennessee and lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami in 2014, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville in 2014, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Munster in 2013-14, Kunsthalle Bern in 2013, The Power Station, Dallas in 2013, and The Kitchen, New York in 2012.

The Museum

Founded by Larry Aldrich in 1964, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated to fostering the work of innovative artists whose ideas and interpretations of the world around us serve as a platform to encourage creative thinking. It is the only museum in Connecticut devoted to contemporary art, and throughout its fifty- year history has engaged its community with thought-provoking exhibitions and public programs.

The Museum’s education and public programs are designed to connect visitors of all ages to contemporary art through innovative learning approaches in hands-on workshops, tours, and presentations led by artists, curators, Museum educators, and experts in related fields. Area schools are served by curriculum-aligned on-site and in-school programs, as well as teachers’ professional development training.

Supporters

The Aldrich, in addition to significant support from its Board of Trustees, receives contributions from many dedicated friends and patrons. Major funding for Museum programs and operations has been provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the Leir Charitable Foundations; The Goldstone Family Foundation; the Anne S. Richardson Fund; CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens); The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc.; The Coby Foundation; Fairfield Fine Art; The Cowles Charitable Trust; The Gage Fund; Fairfield County Bank; Tauck; and Cohen and Wolf.

WSHU Public Radio, TownVibe, and HamletHub are the official media partners of The Aldrich in 2016.

For additional information and images, please contact:

Emily Devoe
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
press@aldrichart.org
203.438.4519, extension 140