apexart: Land Grab - Curated by Sarah Lookofsky and Lillian Fellmann - 7 Nov 2007 to 22 Dec 2007
Friday, November 9, 6:30 pm
Artist Talk with Lars Vilks at apexart
Sunday, November 11, 1:00 pm
Visit to Benchmark with John Hawke
departure from apexart
The artist gives an on-site talk about his intervention in a bus shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Thursday, November 29, 2-6 pm
"Strategies of Occupation: Grabbing Land and The Political Agency of The Artist"
Join the curators for a Public Workshop at Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, New York: 66 West 12th Street, #510
Friday, November 30, 6:30 pm
Artist Talk with Jens Haaning and Amy Balkin at apexart
An online counterpart to the exhibition, the Web site features a selection of works drawn from submissions by artists working within the domain of claiming land. Landgrabonline.org is created in collaboration with the participatory art platform Wooloo.org.
As real estate prices have skyrocketed throughout cities of the world, it has become increasingly difficult to sustain a place. Some artists' responses to this situation mirror those of many practitioners in the sixties and seventies who moved to the margins to seek out an abandoned or still undeveloped site to live and work on an expanded scale. By contrast, no piece in LAND GRAB has involved a real estate transaction or finding that prime location. Instead, the show brings together a range of actions, including semiotic redesignation, under-theradar alteration, parasitical squatting, dissident occupation and fantasized ownership. Every exhibited practice draws attention to the specificities of the relationship between art and the ground on which it is conceived and perceived. As the works reveal, this is by no means an imminent relation of groundedness; the pieces do not simply belong. Although each piece is transposed on a specific place, this relation is often one that is characterized more by contradiction and conflict than by a "natural," and nostalgic, sense of home. Each affiliation of artwork to site (figure to ground) is not just a matter of object placement. The pieces all implicitly question the connection of the human subject to a specific location, in turn demonstrating that there are no "objective" places, only relationships to them. Produced under an enduring condition of an inflated real estate market, disappearing affordable housing, increasing mobility and forced displacement, as well as a global homogenization of built space, the pieces all exhibit an urgency of maintaining a position and space from which to live and work. However, as the artworks suggest, claiming a place of one's own does not solve the problem of modern (and spatial) alienation. Every act of taking inevitably involves the displacement of something/someone else, and that piece of ground will never cease to conjure specters of past inhabitations.
Lillian Fellmann is a curator and culture critic. Sarah Lookofsky is a critic and curator living in New York.
This exhibition is supported in part by the Nordic Culture Fund and the Danish Arts Council.
apexart’s exhibitions and public programs are supported in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts.
Image 1 FORTY ACRES
BY LARRY KLINE
On July 27, 2006, during a residency at The Center for Land Use Interpretation, we claimed forty acres on the Bonneville salt flats (property managed by the federal government) without firing a shot. We then erected a flag at the center of our newly acquired property
Image 2 THE ARTIST'S PARK
BY SCOT KAPLAN
The Artists Park is a public, albeit exclusive area constructed in the Chelsea arts district of Manhattan. Once known solely for its parking lots and similarly static, expansive spaces, Chelsea was created quite literally by the labors of artists. But as the district grew into the famed artistic epicenter it is today, an area that began as an artists base developed into a neighborhood that most artists can not afford to live in.