Andrea Rosen Gallery: Karla Black, Nate Lowman
Gallery 2 & 3 - Group Shows - 1 May 2010 to 26 June 2010
Installation View: Karla Black Nate Lowman
Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, New York
Karla Black Nate Lowman
May 8 – June 26, 2010
In cooperation with Maccarone and Mary Mary
We are particularly excited to bring the works of Karla Black and Nate Lowman into dialogue with each other. By exhibiting works by these two seemingly disparate artists together, this exhibition intends to expand the already rich discourse surrounding both of their works.
For Black, the act of making art is a combination of an immediate, visceral process and a concerted effort to make an aesthetically beautiful and seductive object. Black sculpts vibrant fields of color in large floor works comprised of a powdered plaster that combines domestic products with traditional art-making materials. Concurrently, sculptures of colored paper—hanging or self-supported—are both fragile and bold in their presence. In addition to their reference to landscape and abstract painting, Black's works can simultaneously evoke a broad art historical field including a performative action like Smithson's Asphalt Rundown or the sculptures of artists like Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, and Robert Morris.
Lowman is deeply engaged with the culture of images and objects. Images become abstracted and painted and objects become sculptures, both referential to their original use and made strange and mysterious and new. A landscape of American detritus becomes recycled and remade through the artist's innate aesthetic sense. Lowman's seemingly offhand and casual appearance abets an embedded content that moves in and out of focus, remaining elusive against didacticism. Though often utilizing humor, the sincerity of Lowman's work foregrounds deep layers of meaning and trauma hidden beneath the surface of our culture.
Rather than representing a reductive coherence, this exhibition reflects the attitude of the most recent contemporary practice of proposing questions rather than imposing answers, of finding the remarkable breadth and diversity of experience enriching, and embracing what is made possible by activating difference and contradiction rather than uniformity and compromise. Both Black and Lowman's work, though indebted to Modernism, question the viability and value of linear progress. Rather than following the necessarily destructive drive of Modernism, both Black and Lowman's work engages the possibility of generating new meaning through recuperation and the language of repetition, mining a shared culture and art historical field.
Both Black and Lowman seem to believe that language is an imperfect and sorely inadequate tool of communication. Informed by a broad range of subject matter from anthropological studies of pre-language mark making by humans, 20th century art history, and Melanie Klein's psychoanalytic theory of object relation, Black's central concern is to immerse herself in the seemingly inexplicable compulsion to make art. Rather than seeing art as a deliberate process based in language, Black considers art a product of a bodily, physical desire to make a mark or, as she describes, "a need to just grab the world." Lowman too is interested in the constant breakdown of communication and how images and text can never merely mean what is intended. Lowman's work enacts this overflow of meaning. For Lowman, reproducing an image is not so much an act of appropriation, but rather, one of recuperation. If understanding history is as much about consensus as it is about public amnesia, images and objects can find new life over and over again.
Karla Black lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland and received a BA (Hons) in Sculpture from Glasgow School of Art in 1999 as well as an MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2004. Black has recently been presented in solo museum exhibitions at Modern Art Oxford, Migros Museum, Zurich, and Inverleith House, Edinburgh. Later this year she will have an exhibition at Kunsthalle Nürnberg. In 2011 Black will represent Scotland at the 54th Venice Biennale.
Nate Lowman lives and works in New York and received a BS from New York University in 2001. Lowman's recent exhibitions include "The Natriot Act" at the Astrup Fearnely Museet, Oslo and a solo presentation at The Hydra Workshop, Greece. Lowman was recently included in "Beg, Borrow and Steal" at the Rubell Family Collection, Miami; "Mapping the Studio" at Palazzo Grassi, Venice; and "Unmonumental" at the New Museum, New York.
For press information please contact Jessica Eckert at email@example.com
SHE AWOKE WITH A JERK
Curated by Nigel Cooke
May 8 – June 26, 2010
Opening Reception, May 8th 6:00 – 8:00 PM
George Condo, Nigel Cooke, Armen Eloyan, George Grosz, Neil Hedger, Paul Housley, R.B. Kitaj, Ansel Krut, Sean Landers, René Magritte, Manuel Ocampo, Pablo Picasso
"Essentially linked to the inexhaustible, stupidity is also that which fatigues knowledge and wears down history." – Avital Ronell
"She Awoke With A Jerk" is the title of a song by the husband and wife alt-country duo The Handsome Family, from their first album Odessa. The title can be clearly read in two ways – it evokes a woman suddenly jolted awake, the melodrama recalling the style of a suspense novel. At the same time it suggests a woman awaking to find herself in bed with a moron, an idiot, a feckless buffoon. With the force of an epiphany, a woman awakes to the shock that she has somehow been saddled with a jerk..
The duality of this phrase mirrors the theme, tone and identity of this exhibition. The 'Jerk' who confronts the female gaze on awakening is right here – all the artists are male, for a start, the history of which has no shortage of jerks acting up in the name of creativity. In all the works on view in the show, the heritage of the swaggering male artistic genius is ingloriously handed back, in the process twisting the heroism of art making into a doubtful and wretched farce. To cap it all, the works are all loosely within the genre of portraiture; the jerk himself looks out dumbstruck, struggling against the barrage of ambivalence and doubt that the works mobilize at his expense. Through an over-investment in pictorial signature (which in another time would have ultimately expunged the figure and led to abstraction), in these works the "sitter," or "figure" is still stuck in there anyway, lingering like a squatting tenant after the eviction notice has long been served.
The ambivalence of these works – the need to both embrace and assault the mechanisms of figurative art – brings the artists right to the centre of their representations. The "portrait" is not so much of the figure as of the artist's attitude towards it; the "Jerk" is therefore a mobile value in the show, becoming the personification of intellectual doubt, a visual alter-ego, or the recipient of a troubling and formless contempt. These often grotesque images and styles harbor an undercurrent of disgust and ridicule, an attempt to humiliate the grandiosity of the portrait with a "thinking" stupidity which takes the place of good intentions, visual mimesis and human empathy. Stupidity is here used as a tone of voice, and as a state of mind, to draw new questions about the cloying funk of sophistication that routinely blocks real engagement with art.
In the work of these artists, materials and representation are deployed perversely to call upon our phobia of stupidity, and our banal need for it to be vanquished by conventions of order and good manners. In different ways the artists follow a tradition of the "Fool" that is more familiar in the written word, starting perhaps with Rousseau, Hölderlin and Dostoyevsky, and then continuing through Nietzsche, Conrad, Rilke, Walter Benjamin, and Sartre. It is a tradition where failure, ignorance and thoughtlessness are not straightforward, often enfolding their opposite value in a critical and volatile relationship with arbitrary social structures – the stuff that creates taste and decency, and, ultimately, a culture of bourgeois and uncritical "art appreciation." This is a take on stupidity that positions it as central to all creative projects, and for this reason its value is not merely negative. As a rigorous ingredient it becomes a remainder that cannot be assimilated by taste, yet is vital to the complexity of artistic production.
It could be suggested that Picasso's late portraits, with their emphasis on the "thoughtless" (unpremeditated) creativity of children, carried this tradition into the visual most conspicuously with their goofy, outlandish physiognomies. They brought this conception of thoughtlessness – and by association stupidity – into the centre of representation as a very real question. In this spirit the show plots a nano-tradition within the vast history of figurative art, a line of visual thinking that is still developing today.
– Nigel Cooke
Andrea Rosen Gallery is delighted to announce the second in a series of exhibitions curated by the gallery's artists in which they were asked to contextualize their work.
Nigel Cooke (b. 1973, Manchester, UK) holds an M.A. from the Royal College of Art and a Ph.D. from Goldsmith's College, London, and now lives and works in Kent. Nigel's third solo exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery was in April 2009. He was recently included in "Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection," curated by Jeff Koons at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and will have forthcoming solo exhibitions at Stuart Shave Modern Art, London, and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. He has also shown at Tate Britain and at the South London Gallery. His work is in the collections of the Tate, the MoMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the UCLA Hammer Museum and LA MoCA among others.
**Image credits for image 2 left to right:
© Sean Landers, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles; © Ansel Krut, Courtesy the artist and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London; © Manuel Ocampo, Courtesy the artist; © Nigel Cooke, Courtesy Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; © Armen Eloyan, Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London; © Neil Hedger, Courtesy the artist; © Paul Housley, Courtesy the artist; © The Estate of George Grosz, Princeton, New Jersey; © The Estate of R.B. Kitaj, Courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York; © 2010 C. Herscovici, Brussels/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy Galerie Brachot, Brussels; © George Condo, Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.
For press information and images, please contact Jessica Eckert, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Renee Reyes, email@example.com.
Josiah McElheny, Blinky Palermo, Heimo Zobernig
We are happy to present a three-person project in Gallery 3 with the informal title: Blue Design. Consisting of three works, each in a similar blue tonality, the project features a new sculptural work by Josiah McElheny, a painting constructed with acrylic paint and tape on canvas by Heimo Zobernig and a wall painting by Blinky Palermo. The artworks are related through their use of the language of architecture and design as a way to demonstrate that color is a narrative element of abstraction.
Palermo's Blaues Dreieck (Blue Triangle) from 1969 utilizes the artist's signature triangle form. In this case, it becomes an instructional/conceptual work that exploits the tension between absence and presence, and freedom and limitations. While anyone can stencil the painting onto any wall, it may only be over a doorway and in a precise relationship to that doorway. It speaks to one of Palermo's important critiques of abstraction, namely that the situation or site that a work of art inhabits cannot be ignored, that this "story" forms an important element of the content of abstraction.
Untitled, Zobernig's painting from 2008, continues his analysis of modernist abstraction through the lens of design. Although painting forms only a part of his expansive oeuvre, his use of high-key color connects him to what has been called Palermo's "color radicalism." In this work Zobernig delineates space much as a graphic designer might, though he then obscures this structure in a field of uneven blue. As Joshua Decter wrote in Artforum around the time of this painting: "Since the 1980's, Zobernig has coolly unpacked modernism as a formal language and as social ideology, reminding us that design (gallery architecture included) is never neutral."
McElheny continues his exploration of the confluence of abstraction with the social history of design and architecture in the work, Charlotte Perriand (and Carlos Scarpa), Blue, 2010. A shelving design by Charlotte Perriand is remade in a deep glossy blue and inhabited by designs by Carlo Scarpa that have been reconstructed in radiant blue glass. Like Zobernig's, McElheny's work is also connected to Palermo's exploration of material itself as a narrative element in abstraction in his Stoffbilder or Cloth Pictures; in this case the reflective and translucent materials form not a monochrome, but a sculpture made of innumerable color shifts.
We would also like to announce McElheny's upcoming project at the CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art in the summer of 2011 scheduled to coincide with the Blinky Palermo retrospective at CCS Bard and Dia:Beacon. In dialogue with the Palermo exhibition on the other side of the museum, it will involve McElheny curating and intervening in the display of the permanent collection.
For press information please contact Jessica Eckert at firstname.lastname@example.org