A group show curated by artist Adam Stennett, featuring work by Rebecca Chamberlain, Angela de Rosette, Jan Dunning, Natalie Frank, Andy Diaz Hope, Elizabeth Huey, Jan Kotik, Nelson Loskamp, Nate Lowman, Alex McQuilkin, Adam Stennett, Spencer Tunick and Lee Walton. The curator selected artists who engage and identify empathetically with the meek, the voiceless, the forgotten and the absurd.
DEAD KIDS DO NOTHING curated by artist Adam Stennett, features work by Rebecca Chamberlain, Angela de Rosette, Jan Dunning, Natalie Frank, Andy Diaz Hope, Elizabeth Huey, Jan Kotik, Nelson Loskamp, Nate Lowman, Alex McQuilkin, Adam Stennett, Spencer Tunick and Lee Walton. The curator selected artists who engage and identify empathetically with the meek, the voiceless, the forgotten and the absurd. The artworks chosen trigger certain existential questions: "How is the world different for having me in it? Would anyone notice if I was gone?" Ideas about perceived reality, filtered information and shrinking differences between private and public are also explored. The fact that each piece could be an artist's last adds a certain imperative pressure to the art-making process.
Angela de Rosette grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. After moving to New York she studied at The Art Students League.
Investigating ideas about layers of perception and the breakdown of information Angela works in a system that breaks down and translates an original image until it becomes beautifully tricky and ambiguous. The reference image begins thrice removed from the original as a photograph of a projection of a digitally manipulated original photograph. Angela then systematically and accurately translates the result into paint. Painted with the precision and cool hand of a topographical map or an archeological dig, she layers subtle gradations of color that build upon each other to create a seemingly photographic image that upon closer inspection breaks down into complex layers and formal waves of color.
Angela lives and works in Brooklyn.
Andy Diaz Hope captures both the absurd humor and seriousness of the premise by introducing a flowery knitted ski mask that has only eye holes into a seemingly happy crowd in a foreign locale. Part of a series he calls "Everybody is Somebody's Terrorist", this mask represents the American Tourist. His images jumble disparate visual languages of lovingly misguided grandmothers with darker references to images of hooded terrorists. In a time when we as New Yorkers find ourselves scanning our surroundings with "vigilance" this type of one out of a crowd imagery feels appropriately unnerving. The actual mask is displayed in a case beside the photograph like a archeological specimen or an piece of evidence. A small video screen displays a "tourist" slideshow which is both absurd and unsettling.
Andy Diaz Hope lives and works in San Francisco.
Rebecca Chamberlain paints with translucent blue ink squeezed from cracked-open ball point pens on vintage architectural velum. Obsessed with images of depression era interiors, windows and architecture Rebecca creates moody, luminous images which play with the pull between concepts of inside, outside, present and past. Windows are beautiful but lonely places and although these spaces are empty they are somehow infused with a very human longing. The titles "I Repress My Anger to Save You" and "When You Take My Time You Take Something I Meant to Use" capture the same smart and poignant sensibility Rebecca exudes as Giselle Thurst- singer in the band Maxi Geil! & Play Colt and lead actress in her husband Guy Richards Smit's film Nausea 2 (a porn rock opera), which both recently played at MOMA.
Rebecca Chamberlain lives and works in Brooklyn.
Jan Dunning makes photographs using a long exposure with a pinhole camera. This image "Untitled (Pigeon)" which is part of a series called "Deaths 2002-5" was taken of the bird exactly as she found it. In an image that wavers somewhere between a crime scene photo and a final portrait taken with an open casket in a mortuary the viewer is left with more questions than answers. This dead but beautiful pigeon looks like it it could have fallen out of the sky in mid-flight, been poisoned or keeled over victim of a sudden heart attack. Those of us who grew up with b.b. guns may recognize a particularly complex pang which runs the gamut from the glee of the hunter to the darker feelings that come from watching a living thing take its final breath.
"...the pigeon is such a banal, common bird, but in this case died in such a theatrical, bizarre and inexplicable way, which doesn't suit our perception of it somehow. I truly found it just exactly like that, and didn't touch it at all before I photographed it..."
Jan Dunning lives and works in London
Natalie Frank has just finished her first year in the Columbia MFA program after completing her BA at Yale University and has been garnering much attention. Most recently, Natalie was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in Oslo, Norway at the Statens Kunst Academi for the year 2003-2004. She is also a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Artist Grant and has studied in London, England with the artist Paula Rego as well as at the Slade School of Fine Art. She has spent time at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, the Florence Academy of Art, and the International School of Art, Umbria.
"Veiled Erotic" an eight foot wide painting, locates the female form in a surrealist landscape of dark and vivid magical realism. Organic looking tentacles creep out of a grave-like hole as twin reclining female nudes lie dead-eyed to the right. A caressing tangle of vines, ribbons, cocoons and shadows balance the composition to the left that regenerates into landscape and form. Natalie Frank lives and works in New York City.
Elizabeth Huey, a Brooklyn-based artist, recently exhibited her large-scale paintings in a solo show at Feigen Contemporary. She received her MFA from Yale University in 2002 and was awarded a residency in Giverny at the Terra Museum of American Art. She additionally spent two years studying at the New York Studio School and attended the Marchutz School summer program in Aix-en-Provence, France. Elizabeth loosely represents the Sonoma State Hospital horrors in her painting aptly titled 'The Institution'. Sonoma State Hospital (otherwise known as the Center for Feeble-minded Children) in California housed close to 3,500 kids with disabilities ranging from minor defects like a club foot to Down Syndrome or epilepsy. Without parents' knowledge or consent, kids were subjected to government-sponsored radiation experiments. Patients suffered through painful procedures and many of the children's brains were taken before being buried in an empty field without a headstone. Her painting acts as both a monument and a sad song to the vulnerable and the voiceless.
Jan Kotik attended the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York. He recently exhibited a twelve foot long cruise missile/chaise lounge in the Prague Biennale. Janâ€™s work often comments on the power of government, corporations, technology and often manâ€™s great hubris - money. His work has been widely exhibited in locations including Padua, Prague, Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, Stuttgart, Bratislava, Slovakia and the MusÃ©e dâ€™Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne, France
Jan now lives and works in Prague. He emailed the following description of his contribution to the exhibition.
"The image will be a wall installation made from plastic electric conduit often found in offices to hide cables and wiring. Basic stuff that you can find in Home Depot in the electric department. The material starts at an outlet and soon forms the shape of a communications satellite which ends at a functional water cooler (this is the path; outlet - satellite - water cooler). The satellite is an image I used in another piece (Breakfast of champions) and I like the notion of a "higher power" over us. The work is also a further example of my fascination with everyday paranoia's and conspiracy fetishes. The conduit is a metaphor for covering up existing power structures, the satellite watches us when we sleep, the water cooler is center of personal gossip, etc.)
In general I think a lot of what I do (art wise) is a result of being born in the information age. 24 hour news, on demand this and that, and the digital lifestyle just seem to make us individually more responsible for the poor decisions we make."
Nate Lowman was included in the P.S 1 Greater New York show this year and gained attention a few years ago with a wall installation including xeroxes of various bearded men ranging from the American Taliban and stalkers to his own father as a 70's era hippie type- beards being the obvious unifying factor. Other more subtle comparisons lingered just below the surface and rewarded those who dug deeper. Nate became more well known in December 2003 when the Rubell Collection purchased a large group of his work and exhibited it in their museum-like warehouse in Miami during Art Basel.
In a sly reference to a Sigmar Polke painting "HÃ¶here Wesen befahlen: Rechte obere Ecke schwarz malen! (Higher Powers Command: Paint the Upper Right Corner Black) Nate Lowman mimics the composition and replaces the black in the upper right hand corner with a painted xerox image of flag draped coffins depicting US soldiers killed in Iraq which ran in the New York Times. The image was especially significant at the time it ran because the Bush administration had recently banned all images of flag draped coffins. The resulting juxtaposition of the flags and text becomes both a funny and disturbing dialogue with the Sigmar Polke original.
Nate Lowman lives and works in Brooklyn.
Alex McQuilkin began stirring things up when her video "Fucked" quickly sold out at the 2002 Armory show. This early work showed the young artist calmly attempting to apply lipstick while being buffed from behind.
"Test Run" 2005 which was selected for this show depicts the artist attempting to drown herself in a bathtub while filming. The combination of romantic fantasy and true depression that emanates from the piece is scary, poignant and even darkly funny to those who may recognize a few of their own issues in this piece.
Alex McQuilkin lives and works in Brooklyn.
Nelson Loskamp known for his performances called Nelson's Electric Chaircut which involve ten inch amplified scissors, electrical tape, volunteer/victims and haircuts, also makes paintings and sculpture. These works tend to revolve around a down on their luck cast of characters who appear to be suffering from one malady or another. I think we have all felt like one of these bald headed fragile creatures at some time in our lives. Who hasn't tilted their head sideways with crooked eyes, confused expression and asked "Are there knives sticking out of my head? because sometimes it really feels like there are."
Nelson Loskamp lives and works in Brooklyn.
Adam Stennett : As artist/ guest curator I began by coming up with a theme which spoke to me. I then compiled a list of artists who I thought would understand and appreciate what I was trying to get at. Like sharing your favorite books, records or movies I tried approach the problem as simply as possible. If I walked into a gallery what would I be excited to see and what would I be excited to share?
"Mouse Swimming Overhead" was shot in slow motion with an underwater camera looking up at the surface. Blurry trees, clouds, raindrops, and shadows pass by as a mouse is dangled by the tail and then dropped into the water to sink or swim.
Adam Stennett lives and works in Brooklyn.
Spencer Tunick creates temporary site-specific landscapes that can involve up to several thousand nude figures arranged in public places. Tunickâ€™s site-specific installations follow on the tradition of land art. Working directly in the landscape, the artist uses the nude body as raw material to intervene and transform a chosen site, documenting the installations with photography and video which he then exhibits in a gallery context. The poetic whole resulting from individual bodies arranged in a sculptural way in an urban setting, challenge traditionally held views on nudity and privacy as well as social and political issues surrounding art in the public sphere. The specific image chosen for Dead Kids Do Nothing was shot on the Williamsburg Brooklyn waterfront in 1999 just a few blocks from 31Grand. The beautiful landscape of jumbled bodies lying on the edge of the East River with the New York skyline standing over them like a sentinel is both peaceful and ominous in our post 9-11 reality. Similarities to images of mass graves and civil disobedience intermingle with more calming ideas about the human form, beauty and nature to create an increasingly complex work.
Tunick was born in Middletown, New York in 1967 and currently lives in Brooklyn. He has been documenting the live nude figure in public since 1992 and has created installations around the world in spectacular locations including Belgium, Australia, Canada, USA and Brazil, gathering thousands of people at one time. His temporary site-specific installations in the past have been commissioned by the XXV Bienal de SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil (2002), The Saatchi Gallery (2003), and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (2004). Tunickâ€™s next installation will take place on July 17th in NewcastleGateshead, UK commissioned by BALTIC The Center for Contemporary Art (www.balticprojects.org/tunick <http://www.balticprojects.org/tunick> ) and is a participating artist in the upcoming 2005 Lyon Biennial.
Like a slightly misguided aesthetic super hero Lee Walton works his way to decidedly existential questions about feelings of worth, humility and individuality. How is the world different for having me in it? Would anyone notice if I was gone? What did I accomplish today? He also draws our attention to the small choices that are all around us and encourages us to enjoy minute victories, notice the unnoticed and get out there and do something. If someone was keeping score Lee Walton might not win but no one could accuse him of not trying.
As Lee describes it himself "...a humbling and futile attempt to make some changes before I die."
Lee Walton, recently transplanted from San Francisco lives and works in Brooklyn. He has exhibited in locations including Portland, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Indianapolis, Havana, Paris, Istanbul, Dresden, Berlin, Paris, Melbourne and Victoria. His work was recently exhibited in In the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art and inducted into the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Image: JAN DUNNING, "UNTITLED (PIGEON)" 2004 (FROM THE SERIES DEATHS 2002-5), PINHOLE PHOTOGRAPH, 27 x 25 inches, Edition of 5 with 2AP
Opening Thursday, JULY 7, 7-10pm
31 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Gallery hours: F-M, 1pm â€“ 7pm