An exhibition of artworks contextualized with the source that influenced their creation. A project conceived by Marisa Jahn, who used the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program as her curatorial foundation, Companion culls together cultural projects that draw inspiration from references mined from history, culture, and science. Projects by: Tom Bogaert, Cui Fei, Pablo Helguera, Sarah Oppenheimer with Edward Stanley, Karina Skvirsky, Yuken Teruya, Saya Woolfalk with Rachel Lears, etc.
Curated by: Marisa Jahn for REV-, Curatorial Fellow, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Projects by: Tom Bogaert, Cui Fei, J. Blachly & Lytle Shaw, Pablo Helguera, Sarah Oppenheimer with Edward Stanley, Karina Skvirsky, Yuken Teruya, Saya Woolfalk with Rachel Lears, plus special screening of Bathing Babies in Three Cultures (1951) by Margaret Mead & Gregory Bateson
EFA Project Space announces Companion, an exhibition of artworks contextualized with the source that influenced their creation. A project conceived by Marisa Jahn, who used the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program as her curatorial foundation, Companion culls together cultural projects that draw inspiration from references mined from history, culture, and science.
Pablo Helguera’s What in the World replicates a popular television show from the 1950’s in which artifacts were presented to a team of archaeologists, artists, and aficionados to decipher. Adapting the show’s theatrical conventions for a You Tube generation, Helguera departs from the objects to focus on the eccentric museum staff, positioning the institution itself as the subject of the ethnographic inquiry. For Companion, Helguera includes videos of the original television show and his remake.
Referring to Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s 1966 cinematic masterpiece entitled Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo), Karina Skvirsky's Interiors/Exteriors (from Memories of Development Project) is a series of photographs of domestic settings in Guayaquil, Ecuador that depict a story about self-presentation and class distinction.
Tom Bogaert’s installation centrally features a photograph he took while working as a human rights worker in Burundi, Africa. A picturesque photograph of an illuminated window taken from inside a dark room belies a story of horror: as the artist came to learn, the room was a former site where hundreds of Tutsi women and children were burned to their death in 1993. The window functions not only as an architectural division between death and those who lived but as an emblem of Bogaert’s role as a mediator and witness.
Cui Fei presents an installation of thorns whose assemblage resembles the hash marks used to mark time. Presented as an installation, the hundreds of thorns reference the daily passage of time during the second Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945)—a painful memory rife with atrocity.
Several of the works included in Companion involve direct collaborations with professionals outside of the art field. An ongoing collaboration between anthropologist Rachel Lears and artist Saya Woolfalk, Ethnography of No Place is a series of drawings, photography, and video that conflate ritual with exuberant décor, playfully referring to Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s Bathing Babies in Three Cultures (1951). A film screened throughout the duration of the exhibition, Bathing Babies compares the interplay during bathing between mother and child in three different settings: a Sepik River community in New Guinea, an American home, and a mountain village in Bali. Both films by Woolfalk/Lears and Mead/Bateson draw attention to the aesthetics and politics of quotidian rituals.
Yuken Teruya’s Dawn (Maybach) 2008 is a rosewood panel that artist outfitted for the Maybach luxury line of automobiles with buttons to lock/unlock the door, to raise/lower the window, adjust the side mirrors, and a button shaped like a butterfly whose function or consequence is not stated. For Companion, Teruya seeks the interpretations from others about his propositional design object.
Sarah Oppenheimer, whose installations involve the extraction of familiar architectural elements in order to alter the perception of space, will collaborate with structural engineer Edward Stanley and others.
‘The Temporary Museum of Vaseline in Perth Amboy’ is the latest iteration of J. Blachly and Lytle Shaw’s ongoing research into the artist and poet’s cast of fictional characters known as the ‘Chadwick family.’ While following up leads about missing Chadwick family relics in the New Jersey city, the duo instead stumbled upon the possibility of naturally occurring Vaseline springs in the region.
Tom Bogaert documented genocide and human rights abuses in Africa and Asia for fourteen years for Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Five years ago, he resigned to become an artist.
Jimbo Blachly was born in Orange, NJ in 1961 and moved to New York City in 1990. One-man shows of his work have been organized at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, NY (1999) and at Esso Gallery, NY (1997). His work has been featured in group exhibitions at Gallery Campo + Campo in Antwerp, Belgium (1999), at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (1997), at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY (1995), and at the Drawing Center, NY (1993).
Born in Jinan, China, Cui Fei received her BFA from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Fine Arts) and received her MFA at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2001. She taught for three years as an assistant professor at the Shandong Academy of Fine Arts and has participated in over fifty gallery and museum exhibitions worldwide. Cui has been cited in publications such as Art in America, The New York Times, and The New Yorker Magazine. She has received awards such as the NYFA Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts, the BRIO Award from the Bronx Council on the Arts and was selected into the Artists-in-the-Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Pablo Helguera (Mexico City, 1971) is a New York based artist whose work often adopts the format of the lecture, museum display strategies, musica l performances and written fiction. Helguera has exhibited or performed at venues such as MoMA, PS1, the Royal College of Art, London; 8th Havana Biennal, PERFORMA 05, Havana; Shedhalle, Zurich; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Brooklyn Museum;MALBA museum in Buenos Aires, Ex-Teresa Espacio Alternativo in Mexico City, The Bronx Museum, Artist Space, and Sculpture Center. His work has been reviewed in many art publications such as Art in America, Artforum, Frieze, Afterall, and the New York Times. He has received awards such as the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and a Creative Capital Grant. He is the author of eight books including The Pablo Helguera Manual of Contemporary ARt Style (2005) and Theatrum Anatomicum (And other Performance Lectures) (2009). He is currently the Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Margaret Mead (1901-1978) is a renowned anthropologist who popularized the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western Culture. The 23 books she authored include Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), Male and Female (1949), and Culture and Commitment (1970). Mead was an energetic spokesperson regarding human rights and social issues including women's rights, child development and education. She often testified before Congress and other government agencies regarding issues she believed to be important. Mead served as president of major scientific associations, including the American Anthropological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History for over 50 years, and she received 28 honorary doctorates. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom following her death in 1978. Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) was an anthropologist, social scientist, linguist and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. Some of his most noted writings are to be found in his books, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1973), and Mind and Nature (1980).
Sarah Oppenheimer received a B.A. from Brown University in 1995 and an M.F.A. in painting from Yale University in 1999. Her work has been exhibited at such venues as the Drawing Center, the Sculpture Center, the Queens Museum, Skulpturens Hus (Stockholm), the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Mattress Factory among others. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 2007, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art 2007, an NYFA fellowship (in the category of Architecture/Environmental Structures) 2006, and a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Fellowship 2003. Ms. Oppenheimer joined the Yale faculty in 2003 and was appointed critic in painting/printmaking in 2005.
Lytle Shaw is a New York-based writer whose books include Low Level Bureaucratic Structures: A Novel (Shark, 1998), Cable Factory 20 (Atelos, 1999), The Lobe (Roof, 2002), and Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (Iowa UP, 2006). Since 2004 Shaw has co-edited the Chadwick Family Papers with the artist Jimbo Blachly, whose work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and Europe, including shows at The New Museum, Franklin Furnace and Elizabeth Harris Gallery. Installations, informational displays, and public lectures related to the Chadwick Family have occurred at PS1/MoMA, Tate Modern, Wave Hill, PS122, Bartram’s Garden/ICA Philadelphia, the Queens Museum and at Winkleman Gallery in New York, where Shaw and Blachly are represented. In 2008 Periscope Press published The Chadwick Family Papers: A Brief Public Glimpse.
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky is a photographer and video artist who has exhibited internationally and in New York at Momenta Art, Sara Meltzer Gallery, Jessica Murray Projects, The Center for Book Arts, Bronx Museum of Art, Smack Mellon, and others. She has received grants from NALAC, the Urban Arts Initiative, the Puffin Foundation and others. Skvirsky’s work is in the collections of CBRE Development Corp., El Múseo del Barrio, the Samuel Dorsky Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art Library, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art Library, The Indiana University Art Library, Mills College Library, The School of the Art Institute Library, The New York Historical Society, NY, and more.
Born in Okinawa, Japan in 1973, Yuken Teruya received his MFA from the school of Visual Arts, New York in 2001. In 2007, he had a solo exhibition at The Asia Society in New York. His work was included in Greater New York 2005 at P.S.1 Contemporary art Center and was featured in the Yokohama International Triennial. Recent exhibitions include the Kunstwerein Wiesbaden in Germany; Free Fish at Asia Society in New York as well as various gallery exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Japan. In 2007, his work was featured in Shapes of Space, an exhibition at Guggenheim Museum New York. This fall, his work will be included in “Okinawa” at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan.
Saya Woolfalk is a New York based artist whose work spans multiple media from sculpture, installation, and painting to performance and video. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Brown University, and completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2006. She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, NY; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, IN; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts; and Momenta Art in Williamsburg, NY. She received an Art Matters grant to Japan and a NYFA grant (2007), a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil (2005), and a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA grant (2004), and was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Yaddo, and Sculpture Space. In 2008, Woolfalk was a resident artist at the Studio Museum in Harlem and was a recipient of a Franklin Furnace fellowship.
Of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Jahn is an artist/writer/curator/activist whose work explores, constructs, and intervenes systems. In 2009, with Stephanie Rothenberg and Rachel McIntire, Jahn founded REV- (http://www.rev-it.org), a non-profit organization that fosters socially-engaged art, design, and pedagogy. From 2000-2009, Jahn co-directed “Pond: art, activism, & ideas,” an organization dedicated to experimental public art. Her work has been presented in public spaces and venues such as the The MIT Museum; ICA Philadelphia; ISEA/Zero One; Eyebeam; MOCA North Miami; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, etc. Jahn received a MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has received awards and grants from UNESCO, Robert & Eileen Haas Foundation, CEC Artslink, Franklin Furnace, Canada Council, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and more. In 2009 Jahn is an artist-in-residence at MIT’s Media Lab, the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artist participating in CEC Artslink/Global Art Lab’s project in Tajikistan, and the inaugural curatorial fellow at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. She is the co-editor of the online journal Where We Are Now: Locating Art & Politics in NYC ( HYPERLINK http://www.wherewearenow.org) and two books—‘Recipes for an Encounter’ (Western Front, 2009) and ‘Byproducts: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices’ (YYZ Books, 2010). http://www.marisajahn.com
REV- Founded by Marisa Jahn, Stephanie Rothenberg, and Rachel McIntire, REV- is a non-profit organization that furthers socially-engaged art, design, and pedagogy. REV- produces projects that fuse disciplines, foster diversity, and vary in form (workshops, publications, exhibitions, design objects, etc.). Engaged with different communities and groups, REV-‘s projects involve collaborative production, resource-sharing, and a commitment to the process as political gesture. The organization derives its name from both the colloquial expression “to rev” a vehicle and the prefix “rev-“ which means to turn—as in, revolver, revolution, revolt, revere, irreverent, etc.
EFA Project Space, a Program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, is a multi-disciplinary arts venue that encourages creative expression and new interactions in the arts. By collaborating with organizations and individuals to present a variety of programs including exhibitions, performances, screenings, workshops, and conversations, EFA Project Space generates an ongoing dialogue about the creative process.
EFA Project Space is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Private funding for the Gallery has been received from The Carnegie Corporation Inc. and numerous individuals
Image: Karina Skvirsky, Memories of Underdevelopment, 2009
For press images please contact Michelle Levy, Program Director, EFA Project Space, at 212-563-5855 x 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Reception: Friday, January 15, 2010, 6-8 pm
Performance-readings by Pablo Helguera and Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 6:30-8
Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Center
323 West 39th Street, New York USA