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SEP TEMBER 7 – OC TOBER 21, 2017

NANCY FLOYD


WEATHERING TIME

SEP TEMBER 7 – OC TOBER 21, 2017

NANCY FLOYD

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Vernon Church

Lynn Crawford

Theodore S. Berger Thomas G. Devine Thomas K.Y. Hsu John S. Kiely Vivian Kuan

Rachel Maniatis

Christen Martosella Brian D. Starer

Gregory Amenoff, Emeritus

STAFF

Corina Larkin Executive Director Beatrice Wolert-Weese Deputy Director Shona Masarin-Hurst Programs Director Chase Martin Development Associate Eva Elmore Programs Assistant

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Polly Apfelbaum Katie Cercone Ian Cooper

Michelle Grabner Eleanor Heartney

Trenton Doyle Hancock Pablo Helguera Paddy Johnson Deborah Kass

Sharon Lockhart

Rossana Martinez Juan Sรกnchez

Irving Sandler Lilly Wei

Andrea Zittel


CUE Art Foundation is a visual arts center dedicated to creating essential career and educational opportunities for artists of all ages. Through

exhibitions, arts education, and public programs, CUE provides artists, writers, and audiences with sustaining, meaningful experiences and resources.

CUE’s exhibition program aims to present new and exceptionally strong work by under-recognized and emerging artists based in the United States, and is committed to exhibiting work of all media, genres, and styles.

This exhibition is a winning selection from the 2016-17 Open Call for Solo

Exhibitions. The proposal was unanimously selected by a jury comprised of panelists Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of

Chinese in America; Michelle Grabner, artist and writer; and Leslie Hewitt, artist. In line with CUE’s commitment to providing substantive professional

development opportunities, panelists also serve as mentors to the exhibiting artists, providing support throughout the process of developing the exhibition.

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NANCY FLOYD

I have been photographing myself since 1982. If I fail to

Nancy Floyd has been an exhibiting artist for over

so no image is recorded. This visual calendar consists

awards including a 2015 Society for Photographic

to toe, as well as my environment. On occasion, I insert

2014 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award.

or add an old family photograph for more context.

Portfolio Prize. Temple University Press published her

take a picture on a given day, I advance the film one frame

thirty years. She has received numerous grants and

of 2,500+ photographs that include my body from head

Education Future Focus Project Support Grant, and a

digital reenactment files to contrast with specific images

She was also a runner-up for the 2017 Aperture

Most often I’m by myself in these straightforward

first book, She’s Got a Gun, in 2008.

images, but sometimes I’m with family and friends. As

Floyd’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues

happen. Pets come and go, fashions and hairstyles

Projects, Atlanta, GA; the Atlanta Contemporary

with cords disappear; film gives way to digital, and the

California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA.

time passes, births, deaths, celebrations, and bad days

including Solomon Projects, Atlanta, GA; Flux

evolve, typewriters, analog clocks, and telephones

Art Center; White Columns, New York, NY; and the

computer replaces the darkroom.

Since 2009, her work has been part of the Elizabeth

While Weathering Time chronicles my youth to the dawn

Museum, Brooklyn, NY.

my generation and underscore the cultural, technological,

Floyd holds an MFA from the California Institute of

of my old age, the images also reflect the experiences of

and physical changes that have occurred over the past 35

A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Archive, Brooklyn

the Arts and lives in Atlanta, GA.

years.

Major support for Weathering Time is provided by the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship; Society for Photographic Education Future Focus Project Support Grant; Faculty Summer Research Award, Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University; Anderson Ranch Artist Residency; Jentel Artist Residency; and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences Residency.

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1958/1982/2012, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 18.3”

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LESLIE HEWITT ARTIST-ON-ARTIST

SEARCHING

Confronted and struck by the intensity and rigor of Nancy

conceptual frame. The technical aspect of the development

upon which I use to engage with her work: to locate, to

yet Floyd’s work accomplishes intimacy. If photography

Floyd’s practice, the following key actions set the conditions

of a lens-based art practice can prove to be distancing, and

observe, and to question.

as we know and experience it in our contemporary

To Locate

aesthetically–is essential to being in the world, why not

of the prevailing conventions of representation, particularly

Holding up the camera as a mirror, what is revealed? A state

context–watching its shifts and turns, conceptually and

How can we work towards an active, critical understanding

attempt to capture seconds of life everyday as a daily ritual?

those surrounding photography? The discourse that

of constant interchangeability?

and freedom, of rigorous truths and unleashed pleasures.

To Question

inherent in this paradox, is the site of a certain shell game, a

encounter with an index: an index of a woman, a daughter,

surrounds photography speaks paradoxically of discipline Here then, at least by virtue of a need to contain the tensions

Encountering Weathering Time (1982-present) is to mark an

certain dance, even a certain politics.

a sister, a wife, a pet owner, a home-owner, an intellectual,

Searching, scrolling, swiping, and all such hand actions that

series continue, and the banality of the circumstances settles

layer of performativity to the collective daily negotiation with

of a kind of disappearance brought about through the

and the commitment to linger and engage with an image,

plane of exploration engaging philosophical and strikingly

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an artist, a person, a life. Ironically, as the pictures within the

help to navigate images on the surface of screens, add a

in, the self-portrait seems to disappear. The documentation

images. This physical labor, coupled with the mental labor

multiplicity of variation and repetition moves the work to a

creates a unique set of circumstances. This engagement

political concerns.

with images (or more specifically, with memory images , with 2

representation and the latent gaze which could arguably

Conceptual Art set in motion formal shifts as it relates to

itself), is critical to Floyd’s art practice.

Pictures Generation created a hypersensitivity to the role

To Observe

authenticity. As it relates to our contemporary moment

along with a kind of systems analysis are all part of Floyd’s

in us and with us, a building of a global consciousness3

be considered the physical or dematerialized photograph,

The study of movement, the acts of recording and archiving,

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the photographic plane as a document. The artists of the

of irony and strategic play with authorship and notions of and the reckoning with what the internet has produced


emerges. What is the relationship of the “self” to “other” with this new conditioning? Can it be pictured? Has

anything changed in this new terrain? Or simply has

our perception shifted? Art historically we can think of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980);

the positioning of Adrian Piper’s Food for the Spirit

(1971); and Ana Mendieta’s Untitled (Facial Cosmetic Variations) (January–February 1972), alongside and in some cases before the development of Floyd’s

aesthetic register, but all contemporaneously produce a formal and conceptual reveal. They set forth a series of questions that quite frankly continue to disrupt the

simple order of things as visual testimony. I see Floyd’s exhaustive ritual of self-portraiture as existential. Even within the epic flow of what is often referred to as the

contemporary economy of images, Floyd’s project of visual testimony operates with sheer clarity, critique, and power.

Leslie Hewitt addresses fluid notions of time through

photography, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Her compositions comprised of political, social, and personal

materials result in multiple histories seen and experienced as embedded in sculptural, architectural, and abstracted forms. Hewitt draws parallels between the formal

appearance of things and their significance to collective

history and political consciousness in contemporary art. Hewitt studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Yale University’s School of Art, and at New York University, with a focus on Africana and Visual Culture Studies. Hewitt has held residencies at the Studio Museum

in Harlem, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the American Academy in Berlin, Germany amongst others.

Her work is in public collections at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Guggenheim Museum, NY; Los Angeles County

Museum of Art, CA; The Whitney Museum of American Art, 1 Allan Sekula, “The Traffic in Photographs,” in Allan Sekula: Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works 1973 – 1983 (London: MACK 2016), 77. 2 Siegfried Kracauer; Translation by Thomas Y. Levin, “Photography,” in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 19 No. 3 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1993), 425.

NY, among others. She was a faculty member at Barnard

College in the department of Art History from 2012-2017; and has recently joined the faculty of the School of Art at

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

3 Reference here is to the research of Ramesh Srinivasan culminating in his book Whose Global Village?: Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World (New York: New York University Press, 2017).

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Evolution of the Darkroom 1983-2016, 2017 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 13.5”

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OPPOSITE

Robin 1986/2010, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 13.5”

ABOVE

Family 1982-2013, 2017 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 20” x 27”

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OPPOSITE

Jimmy ca. 1960, 1969, 2013, 2017 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 14.7”

ABOVE

Jimmy’s Robe 1983/2012, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 13.5”

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Fitness 1984/2015, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 13.5”

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Protest 1984/1998/2016, 2017 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 20.3”

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ABOVE Telephone 1982-2014, 2017 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 40”

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OPPOSITE Moving 1985-2013, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 13.5”


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Misbehaving Pets 1983-2012, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10� x 41.3�

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Scare 1999/2006/2007, 2015 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 20.3”

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2000/2013/2017, 2017 Archival inkjet print on Epson Exhibition Fiber 10” x 20.3”

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The Month Dad Died, May 2002, 2015 Chromogenic Print 31” x 41”

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STARE AS LONG AS YOU WANT SHANTAY ROBINSON

When Nancy Floyd started the photographic series Weathering Time in 1982, no one could have conceived how smartphones would change our lives. Today, taking selfies has become a daily habit for many. But as recently as 1982, people were still using Polaroid cameras for instant photographs or buying film and developing their pictures at Fotomat. It wasn’t typical of people to document their every move with photographs. But after Floyd received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts photography, she developed the idea of photographing herself every day to document the aging of her body over time. When she started, she photographed herself each morning before heading to her waitressing job so she

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wouldn’t fail to do it after a long day at work. In the 35 years since, she’s gone from waiting tables to retiring from a career as a professor of photography; she plans to take photographs of herself until her last day. If you are a Baby Boomer, you’ll recognize the clothing fashionable in Floyd’s youth. You’ll reminisce about the technology of the early 80s. You’ll likely know what it means to lose a parent or both. Boomers value the hard work it takes to get as far as Nancy Floyd has in her life. While Millennials are used to having knowledge at the tip of their fingers, Floyd was only afforded a college education because she was the youngest


of six children, the rest of whom had left home by the time she was ready to go to school. And as many Millennials race to be famous and rich as soon as possible, they can view this exhibition as the timeline of a healthy life. While there have been several studies conducted to understand the differences between Boomers and Millennials, and it’s been found that they may not have the same values, viewing Weathering Time bridges generations. Change is inevitable for everyone. It may have been her father’s interest in taking pictures of the family that inspired Floyd to begin photographing herself. Her reward system was approval from her dad, not anonymous associates on social media. It would be easy to overlook the family portrait by Floyd’s father included among her own images. Her consistent use of black-and-white photography provides a seamless transition between photographs of the past and more current ones. Although Floyd as the subject is a constant, and she repeats compositions, the objects and people accompanying her vary. Attempting to gain the greatest depth in each photograph, the subjects are captured fully, from head to toe. Unlike the photographs by selfie enthusiasts who use apps to remove blemishes or to make themselves appear taller and thinner before posting to social media, Floyd presents her portraits unfiltered. Bravely, she hasn’t succumbed to body ideals and in her boldness really defies them. Although in a few of the photographs she appears right out of bed, wearing a T-shirt and underwear, or hiding behind a pillow, she does not sexualize herself. Throughout the years, Floyd doesn’t wear make-up, keeps her hair short, and doesn’t show off her curves.

Unlike the famous conceptual portraitist Cindy Sherman, who produces “selfies” on a grand scale, Floyd doesn’t aim to create elaborate spectacles through staging scenes or creating characters. She may revisit a pose, a person, or a location. She may wear the same clothes. But Floyd does not transform her identity with make-up, hair, and costumes. Instead she simply shows by example how authenticity can direct a successful life. Grouping photographs with similar poses offers viewers the chance to discern those things that are modified by time like machinery, modes of transportation, or equipment, implicitly identifying the advancement of the artist’s experiences by these ephemera. As a self-portraitist, Floyd is less interested in making herself look iconic, as Sherman does, than in exhibiting the type of evolution that is common among most lives. Although Floyd herself is the main subject in Weathering Time, she also provides time-lapse portraits of her family as they age and have children of their own. This is akin to the work of Nicholas Nixon, who has photographed his wife and her three sisters every year since 1975 in the series, The Brown Sisters. Through the series, we watch Nixon’s wife and her sisters age and connect more lovingly with one another in the process. Floyd’s photographs capture her parents from the early 1980s until their deaths; she includes images of her embracing them while they are well and as they fall ill. Their deaths had a dramatic effect on Floyd’s practice. During the months her parents died, she took few pictures, and she includes the contact sheets representing those months’ photographs to illustrate the many days she did not take photographs. Consequently, the theme of this body of work transcends the idea of simply aging to 29


incorporate the inevitability of mortality. We will all be gone one day, but we will leave behind our pictures, our experiences with others, and even our social media feeds as our legacies, signaling the value of the image and the impermanence of being. Just as Floyd doesn’t stay in the same position throughout her life, neither does anyone else who attempts to improve their life. Comparable to the well-known Up series by Michael Apted, which documented the lives of fourteen British people of various social classes every seven years from 1964 until 2013, Floyd’s Weathering Time shows her change in social status. While some of the changes that occurred to the subjects of the documentary series were unforeseen, so too were developments in Floyd’s life. She might have been content waiting tables while continuing to create art, but life had different plans. As evidenced from the photographs, Floyd moved across the country multiple times to seek greater opportunities. And while her modes of transportation became more advanced, so too did her status in life. In addition to showing us changes of the body, and in technology, she even documents changes in her ideas. As a young woman, she photographed herself with rhetoric about animal abuse on a t-shirt and at her current age she dons a t-shirt with the slogan “black lives matter.” And we can only guess that the artist’s understanding of the world has evolved as well. In their simplicity, the moments she captures are easily relatable: arms around close family members with smiles for the camera and children sitting in laps. Instead of capturing the 30

phenomenal, she captures the ordinary and has made it note-worthy by placing images adjacent to one another, demonstrating meaning that supersedes her personal existence and touching the viewer by sympathetic understanding. Floyd believes, “the beauty of portraiture is the ability to stare as long as you want.” Her viewers are welcome to engage for extended periods of time. And many find her accessible enough to engage in conversations about their own photographs and lives when they meet. Floyd’s work predates the selfies of today while still providing an entry point of understanding for a generation of people who don’t typically understand her generation. And that’s what’s golden about the work. So many things have changed in the time since she started this project that it speaks to every generation with a narrative demonstrating the impermanence of time. This timeline allows for looking intensely at the change that can happen over a lifetime or in just a few years. While the narrative that Floyd creates in this photographic series may encourage our acceptance of change, she states that, “For real change to happen, you have to be active.” Creating this exhibition might be the action that Floyd contributes to instituting a realization that everything takes time—even change.


This essay was written as part of the Art Critic Mentoring Program, a partnership between AICA-USA (US section of International Association of Art Critics) and CUE, which pairs emerging writers with AICA-USA mentors to

produce original essays on a specific exhibiting artist. Please visit aicausa.org for more information on AICA-USA,

or cueartfoundation.org to learn how to participate in this program. Any quotes are from interviews with the author unless otherwise specified. No part of this essay may be reproduced without prior consent from the author. Lilly Wei is AICA’s Coordinator for the program this season.

Shantay Robinson, an Atlanta-based art writer, has been featured in Arts ATL, Burnaway, Number, Inc., AFROPUNK, and ARTS.BLACK. Her scholarly work includes the presentation of papers at Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Symposium on Art and Fashion: From Peplos to Petticoat to Punk; and at Georgia State University’s New Voices Conference. Robinson participated in Burnaway’s inaugural Art Writers Mentorship Program and in an editorial fellowship through Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. She also produces videos that have screened at art galleries, museums, and universities. Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in Media Management from Syracuse University; an MFA in Writing from SCAD; and a master’s in Communication and Composition from Minnesota State University. She teaches Rhetoric and Composition at Clayton State University.

Mentor Nancy Princenthal is a New York-based critic and former Senior Editor of Art in America; other

publications to which she has contributed include Artforum, Parkett, the Village Voice, and the New York Times.

Her book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames and Hudson) was published in June 2015. She is also the

author of Hannah Wilke (Prestel, 2010), and her essays have appeared in monographs on Shirin Neshat, Doris Salcedo, Robert Mangold and Alfredo Jaar, among many others. She is a co-author of two recent books on

leading women artists, including The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium (Prestel, 2013). Having

taught at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Princeton University; Yale University, RISD, Montclair State University and elsewhere, she is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.

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CUE Art Foundation’s operations and programs are made possible with

the generous support of foundations, corporations, government agencies, individuals, and its members.

MAJOR PROGRAMMATIC SUPPORT PROVIDED BY Agnes Gund The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Anholt Services (USA) Inc. CAF American Donor Fund Compass Group Management LLC Compass Diversified Holdings Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation Lenore Malen and Mark Nelkin The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc. The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation Squire Patton Boggs William Talbot Hillman Foundation New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

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All artwork Š Nancy Floyd.

Catalogue design by Shona Masarin-Hurst.


137­WEST 25TH STREET NEW YORK, NY 10001 CUEARTFOUNDATION.ORG

Nancy Floyd: Weathering Time  

September 7 - October 21, 2017

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