Double Life Presented through the In Practice program
Korakrit Arunanondchai David Berezin Paul Branca Lea Cetera Rachel Foullon Molly Lowe Shana Lutker S. A. C. with Justin Lieberman Julia Sherman Bryan Zanisnik
SculptureCenter’s exhibitions and programs are generously supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York State Council on the Arts; Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc; the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation; Bloomberg LP; Bloomberg Philanthropies; the Foundation for Contemporary Arts; Goldman Sachs; A G Foundation; the Ken and Judith Joy Family Foundation; the Kraus Family Foundation; the Lambent Foundation fund of the Tides Foundation; the Joan Mitchell Foundation; the New York Community Trust; the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the A. Woodner Fund; and contributions from our Board of Trustees and many generous individuals. All rights reserved, including rights of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. © SculptureCenter and the authors Published by SculptureCenter 44-19 Purves Street Long Island City, NY 11101 t: 718.361.1750 f: 718.786.9336 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sculpture-center.org Copy Editor: Alice Gregory Design: Kristen Chappa In Practice panelists: Claire Barliant, Alejandro Cesarco, Kristen Chappa, Ruba Katrib, Lumi Tan Interns: Aryn Conway, Theresa Choi, Marie Heilich, Katherine Lee
Double Life January 14 – March 25, 2013 Korakrit Arunanondchai David Berezin Paul Branca Lea Cetera Rachel Foullon Molly Lowe Shana Lutker S. A. C. with Justin Lieberman Julia Sherman Bryan Zanisnik Curated by Kristen Chappa
Foreword Mary Ceruti Double Life Kristen Chappa
Artist Prof iles A. E. Benenson Alicia Ritson
Checklist of Works
Julia Sherman, I’m Not Doing This For Me, I’m Doing This For The Future of Our Child (still), 2012.
Foreword Mary Ceruti
Double Life is SculptureCenterâ€™s 2013 In Practice exhibition. The ten artists included in this show were selected through a call for proposals that SculptureCenter undertakes annually. Over 800 proposals were submitted by local, national, and international artists. These proposals were reviewed first by staff and then by a panel of staff and colleagues. The panel recommended 30 artists for studio visits and from that group, Assistant Curator Kristen Chappa organized this exhibition. The In Practice program is an important opportunity for artists who have had little professional exposure to create new work and exhibit it in a professional context. The program provides a $500 artist honoraria and production budgets up to $1,500. In making the final selection of artists for the exhibition, the curator looks both for quality proposals but also work that shares enough conceptual and aesthetic territory to make a cohesive exhibition. This year, in response to the number of compelling proposals, Kristen also organized a performance program titled Reverberations out of this open call, which we presented at SculptureCenter in December 2012. The In Practice program helps us to identify emerging artists working in sculpture and contextualizes their work in the larger, international conversation. I would like to thank our outside panelists who helped us review proposals and brought their insights to the table: Claire Barliant, Alejandro Cesarco, and Lumi Tan. We are grateful to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Joan Mitchell Foundation for their generous support of this program. Their recognition of the need for these types of opportunities is laudable and visionary. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation and the Lambent Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation are also consistent, major funders of our artistic program and really enable us to work with artists in the most supportive way. I want to thank Kristen Chappa, who gave this exhibition its shape and made the connections between the artists and to the broader discourse around sculpture, performance, and identity. And of course, we are grateful to the artists who have taken this opportunity to challenge and inspire us.
Mary Ceruti Executive Director and Chief Curator
DoubleLife Kristen Chappa The exhibition Double Life brings together a group of emerging artists that share a performance-based approach to sculpture, by re-staging readymades, self-sampling original content, or engaging in new strategies of re-performance. Objects and images are removed from institutional frameworks, historical moments, and specific modes of distribution so as to disrupt assumptions about their status and meaning. Adopting a sense of synchronistic time that is at once immediate and located in moments of reflection, these artists reexamine ignored or misunderstood issues still affecting contemporary subjects. Amidst current conditions that are multicultural, hyper-mediated, and increasingly focused on self-presentation, Double Life looks at the contemporary artist looking at him or herself as a self-reflexive performer, as well as at our collective nature to perform in daily life. Julia Sherman asks us to reconsider a 1952 I Love Lucy episode, Lucy Becomes a Sculptress, as a readymade within the art institution. Through photography and video, Sherman simultaneously unmoors and repositions the sculptures created by Lucille Ball’s character. In the original TV episode, the housewife-comedian plays the role of a naïve art student whose talent is judged by her husband and male critics. Part of the episode’s humor comes from Lucy’s failed attempts at achieving realistic representation (Ricky, for example, guesses that her sculpture, Child at His Mother’s Knee, is a boy and his dog; Ethel thinks it’s a nose on a face). Sherman’s Portrait of Ethel Merz (Private Collection) (2012) inserts a remake of the abstract bust into a contemporary collector’s home.1 The photograph shows the object displayed on an outstretched hand that reaches into the frame, announcing its performative inclusion. The approach is in keeping with the original humor, yet here it is deadpan rather than slapstick. Another work, I’m Not Doing This For Me, I’m Doing This For The Future of Our Child (2012), is a re-performance of Lucy’s final piece, captured on video. In the episode, Lucy covers her own head in clay and presents it—disembodied—up through a hole in a living room table—a desperate attempt to impress a male critic. While Lucy manages to stay still and maintain the illusion, Sherman’s clay face mask and hair helmet are shown cracking and coming apart; we also hear a sampled laugh track and a male director’s domineering instructions. Sherman’s revival of this content suggests that power dynamics we often assume
1 This work recalls Louise Lawler’s photographs from the 1980s that show cropped views of artworks in private, domestic settings.
See Eleanor Heartney, Postmodernism (London: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 42.
belong to a past moment in history are in fact very much still intact. Substituting herself for Lucy, Sherman conveys her own subjective experience of discomfort and restriction. Molly Lowe uses similar tactics in her video FORMED (2013), where she performs inside a metallic full-body suit that recalls Sarah Charlesworth’s iconic Figures (1983). If Charlesworth’s image interrogated a fetish object of male fantasy—empty, decontextualized, fragmented—at the height of postmodernism, Lowe re-contextualizes the bound form, imbuing it with her own subjectivity.2 It is a disturbing retrieval of agency: we witness an awkward struggle and hear alternating sounds of laughter and anguish. The glamorous figure becomes a live trophy. Seductive and strange, it conveys a sense of alienation and draws attention to how we perform ourselves on various public stages. Shots showing fingers pushing up through keyboards and a sort of reverse-fellatio performed on an iPad screen reclaim female fantasy, and attempts at connection through (or with) technological devices. Beyond the shift of subject becoming object, Lowe here indicates an over-identification with objects, questioning how the things we possess can operate onto us. 3 In David Berezin’s prints, digitally assembled from images found on the internet, represented objects possess a dual nature, here as “surrogate performers” in place of an absent protagonist.4 We see items such as a plastic Hilton keycard, a walkie-talkie, a glass of champagne, and scattered rose petals. Dislodging these images’ contexts, Berezin treats them as both props and actors, exploring the construction of meaning and its ability to be manipulated. A Cop Finds Romance Where He Least Expects It and A Janitor Comes Into Money But Keeps His Day Job (both 2012) operate like odd, text-free 1980s film posters, recalling familiar, stock narratives from Hollywood cinema that mimic the use of stock photography. The humor in Berezin’s choice of titles and objects is undercut by his straight-faced delivery. The prints’ mundane aesthetics suggest the vacuity of these narratives that hover in our collective consciousness. Large-scale and close to life-size, the objects depicted seem to rest right before one’s eyes, and yet their treatment—a fuzzy lack of detail, floating just above the surface plane—keeps them at a distance. The effect is hazy, memory-like. Berezin’s video A New Direction (2013) operates within a similar in-between sense of time. The soft, low-def sunset and drop-shadowed type announce themselves as an intro sequence to an outdated, public-access TV program, but the subsequent content never arrives.The imagery and sound form an infinite loop—a protracted and empty present moment that is ultimately collapsed. 2 Heartney, Postmodernism, 56. 3 See André Lepecki, “Moving as Thing: Choreographic Critiques of the Object,” October, Spring 2012, 84-86. 4 The term “surrogate performers” is borrowed from Rosalind Krauss, Passages in Modern Sculpture (Cambridge: MIT Press,
This dual sense of time and treatment of objects becoming subjects carries over into Shana Lutker’s installation, Knock, Knot, Goose. (2013). A series of five intimate displays made from found and original objects are viewed at close range from inside a narrow corridor. Divorced of original context (the thrift store, the artist’s studio, the souvenir shop), and placed in new juxtapositions elucidates their “sheer presence,” while simultaneously bearing traces of past lives through visible weathering and symbolic association.5 Set free to shift meaning and value, Lutker’s non-hierarchical approach places original photographs on equal terms with mass-produced postcards and other utilitarian and decorative items. The displays are not quite commercial—rather, they are closer to stage sets for Lutker’s selections that behave as both props and actors. The chosen elements are not organized according to their proper use or function, thus shedding their supposed mode of being in the world; they are allowed a certain disobedience in becoming other, becoming undetermined things.6 If the artist here (as theater director or choreographer) moves away from manipulation, opening onto collaboration with her cast, she also pointedly invites interpretation—for her audience to share in determining meaning. We perhaps best see this tendency toward a non-hierarchical leveling of subjects and objects in Bryan Zanisnik’s overflowing, maximalist installation, A Woman Waits For Me (2013). Responding to a hyper-capitalist moment, Zanisnik presents various commodities in abundant excess. Periodically activated by still, pose-performances by the artist and his father, Zanisnik revives the tableau vivant, or “living picture,” treating static bodies as simply things among many other things. Included in the contents are Zanisnik’s self-sampled and reused props from his own past performances, as well personal items and collections taken from his childhood home. In this repetition, he constantly updates his own memory-archive. Zanisnik’s over-identification with objects creates psychological spaces akin to hoarders’ homes. By positioning sentimental items alongside thrift-store cast-offs, he enacts a decisive leveling of objects.7 Furthermore, mic’d objects suggest that all these things perhaps pulse with some life or energy as containers or access points to memory. The tableau vivant here also addresses a contemporary understanding between images and live events. Zanisnik’s performance-installation operates as a live image drawn from past archives, while it’s own documentation also generates new images for future archives.8 Zanisnik’s attendant photograph Perhaps I Go Through Heavy Mountains (2012) introduces a further complication. Installed on the opposite side of one shared wall of the installation, it acts almost like a window or peephole view. The print poses as a detail taken directly from the installation, repeating materials such as wallpaper and brick, to co-dependent effect. 5 Lepecki, “Moving as Thing: Choreographic Critiques of the Object,” 75. 6 Lepecki, “Moving as Thing: Choreographic Critiques of the Object,” 82. 7 Lepecki, “Moving as Thing: Choreographic Critiques of the Object,” 76-81. 8 See Johanna Burton, “Repeat Performance,” Artforum, January 2006, 56.
Just as some performance artists are currently reviving and reinterpreting past works from archival sources, Rachel Foullon employs a similar strategy in her approach to sculpture. Her installation Stanchion (6 yield 5) (2013) extends the possibility of another artist’s practice. By appropriating and then elaborating upon Bill Bollinger’s minimalist, instructionbased rope series from the 1960s, she also furthers the reach of a retrospective previously held at SculptureCenter, triggering an institutional memory. Re-engaging with the exact spot in which one Bollinger work was formerly sited—a single rope stretched from floor to ceiling—Foullon’s serial installation pointedly employs repetition, extending and angling into the gallery space like a subtle arrow. Foullon works off of the site’s specific architecture, adding ropes and hardware that seem to merge with Bollinger’s VW rope piece, also formerly installed at the museum. Foullon takes further liberties by including her signature handdyed fabrics; here they mimic the textured concrete walls of the site, visually underscoring this strategy of “ghosting.” Justin Lieberman’s Condition Report (2011-2013) also gives new life to seemingly complete objects, creating new works that serve as records of past actions. Presented on a two-sided studio wall, he repurposes abandoned student paintings under the guise of a collective, performing parodic acts of damage and conservation—erasure and “collaboration”—that speak to ethical questions about value-assignment and power relations in pedagogical settings. Lieberman’s acts of defacement and restoration add value to the student works, moving them from the trash bin to the art institution. In the violent, sexual, frustrated puncturing of the canvases, he performs an amplified version of his own patriarchal position, only to “conserve” them with window screening and Saran wrap in one case, a tennis racquet in another. His restorations are performative, rather than functional, in that they are flamboyant, inadequate, creative; their shoddiness belies an outspoken disingenuousness, an intentional stealing the spotlight. In these static objects, we see the index of Lieberman performing the meta-role of master artist. He destroys any myth of purity within educational institutions, instead flaunting his own position of power. A second work by Lieberman is an altered readymade—a familiar kinetic toy, the “Playful Penguin Race,” comprised of small plastic penguins that repeatedly climb a mechanical staircase and slide down a ramp.9 Lieberman’s title is didactic: The Desire To Transgress, To Produce Something That The System Cannot Digest, Is What The Entwined Machinery Of Pedagogy And Critical Reception Cannot But Perpetuate, Hence Recreating Its Own Cyclical Conditions Of Assimilation—An Institutional Feedback Mechanism Predicated On Its Own Illusory Negation. Or, In 1931, Berthold Romanovich Lubetkin, A Student Of
9 Lieberman removed a noise-making device that simulated the sound of penguins; the materials for this piece read: “Silenced
Naum Gabo, Political Radical, And Constructivist Architect, Executed One Of The First Public Commissions Of Iconically Recognizable Constructivism In A Western Context: The Penguin Pool At The London Zoo. (2013).10 In one humorous and jaded move, Lieberman nods to a somewhat absurd application of Russian Constructivism, and—placed in close proximity to Condition Report—presents the constant indoctrination and professionalizing art students for careers as a systemic, futile loop. Paul Branca’s Shoplifters series faithfully record stolen items, casting the artist as the protagonist of the crime. Seven assemblages titled after the days of the week catalog a sampling of his pilfering. His canvas tote bags used for collection are here presented as traditional painting supports—surfaces to catalog the lifted items, and for restaging the artist’s past actions—revealing his own habits and routines. The commodities consumed as sustenance or materials used in Branca’s art-making are displayed—some literally attached in a straightforward manner, while others are painted in a realistic style, suggesting an X-ray of items previously held inside of the wearable accessories. In addition to the totes, one readymade object included is an open pack of chewing gum, which acts as an invitation and provocation for visitors to join Branca in performing the transgressive act. Luxury and desire are also on view—expensive cerulean blue tubes of paint and Muji bags are seen alongside more mundane necessities (brushes, scissors, energy bars). Ultimately, this serial work is a sad meditation on our current state of affairs—Branca performs himself, but also the conditions faced by many artists today. For Lea Cetera and Korakrit Arunanondchai, art installations double as stage sets, which they can populate with live action, video, and digital re-projections. Cetera’s installation, which incorporates projected video, sculpture, and performance, draws on and updates the legacy of minimalism and postmodern critiques of the gaze in order to speak about current concerns of visibility and invisibility from a feminist perspective. In Panty Party with 64” I-Beam (2013), a performance inside of the installation is re-projected back onto the same space at a 1:1 scale, layering and confusing what is physically present (a rectangular, steel structure contrasted with one white, lacy bra) with what is re-projected (five female performers, including Cetera). We never encounter the actual performers, only their distanced, digital specters. In the video, the women strip off undergarments for the camera, then use them to create a temporary sculpture on the metal frame. But rather than showing flesh, these removals reveal parts of leggings and unitards that, green-screened in post-production, increasingly cause segments of bodies to disappear. The camera’s failure to fully reconcile
10 The first title is a quote, itself a readymade text. See Nic Guagnini, “Artists on Artists: Justin Lieberman,” BOMB, Summer 2012,
the green-screened content is visible in a breakdown of the projected image. This tension between covering and uncovering, visibility and invisibility, is further communicated by anti-facial recognition makeup worn by the performers. All of this highlights the women’s position; the targets of the camera’s and audience’s gazes form a collective resistance. More relevant than ever in the midst of ubiquitous surveillance and cell phone cameras, the potential violence of the gaze is here expanded.11 Moreover, considering recent discussions about the possible relationships between archival documentation and re-performance, Cetera offers up another form of co-dependence—one that is collapsed and simultaneous.12 If the minimalist performers she recalls wanted to get away from illusion and artifice, Cetera insists on both as contemporary, intermediary spaces of creative production.13 This collapsed sense of before and after, live event and its record, is also found in Korakrit Arunanondchai’s installation, 2556 (2013). Like Cetera, he pushes these binaries by layering elements that occur and reoccur in the digital space of video and the physical space of the exhibition. 2556’s mash-up aesthetics—of distinctive Thai and Western imagery— speak to the negotiation necessary in constructing a multicultural identity. An excessive use of mirrors optically extends the corridor in which the installation is housed, suggesting an infinity-space or portal that reaches backward and forward in time—across cultures, rather than being merely a narcissistic exercise. However, together with the lavish use of Arunanondchai’s own image, the mirrors also point to a current obsession with self-documentation and self-presentation on a broader scale. Arunanondchai wrestles with, but also embraces, his own pseudo-identities as a mystic or art star. The central focus of the installation is a projected video, in which Arunanondchai acts out a hyperbolic, mythological artist figure who not only possesses a special relationship with nature but also navigates shopping malls and dance clubs. The video uses documentation of the artist’s past performances intercut with new footage and mass-media clips. The performances are then re-performed within the installation, captured, and displayed on a smaller monitor, like a set of nesting dolls. Here, the live performance event is processed through the realm of documentation again and again.14
11 With regard to cell phone camera use and the male gaze, see Melissa Jeltsen, “Predditors: New Tumblr Outs People Who Post
‘Creepshots’ To Reddit,” The Huffington Post, last modified October 11, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/predditors-tumblr-creepshots-reddit_n_1955897.html. 12 For a detailed analysis on the relationship between archival documentation and recent re-performace works, see Robert C. Morgan, “Thoughts on Re-Performance, Experience, and Archivism,” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 96, (2010): 5. 13 Yvonne Rainer, “A Quasi Survey of Some ‘Minimalist’ Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity Midst the Plethora, or An Analysis of Trio A,” in Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, ed. Gregory Battcock (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995), 267. 14 See Philip Auslander, “The Performativity of Performance Documentation,” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 84, (2006): 84.
The artists included in Double Life collectively adopt a mode of address that privileges personal and direct encounters that rest alongside the viewer’s experience, as well as insisting upon a recursive sense of history and individual narrative. Even while speaking from a place of subjectivity, many of these works present a non-hierarchical treatment of materials, moving toward a trading of subjects and objects—suggesting a heightened awareness of how each operates onto the other. Often inhabiting their own images, these artists reveal an anxiety in the ceaseless performing of public persona in contemporary life. And whereas there is a palpable frustration with this self-consciousness, the desire to be “real” is pitted against a contradictory tendency towards what is distant, fantastic, and most certainly un-real. This tension between authenticity and premeditated falseness asks us to consider whether one can feel immediacy and connection through memory and re-performance. Perhaps in grasping at authenticity, we divorce ourselves further and further from it.
Auslander, Philip. “The Performativity of Performance Documentation.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 84, (2006): 1-10. Burton, Johanna. “Repeat Performance.” Artforum, January 2006. Chave, Anna C. “Minimalism and the Rhetoric of Power.” Arts Magazine, January 1990. Cotter, Holland. “Performance Art Preserved, in the Flesh.” The New York Times (New York, NY), March 11, 2010. Guagnini, Nic. “Artists on Artists: Justin Lieberman.” BOMB, Summer 2012. Heartney, Eleanor. Postmodernism. London: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Jeltsen, Melissa. “Predditors: New Tumblr Outs People Who Post ‘Creepshots’ To Reddit.” The Huffington Post. Last modified October 11, 2012. http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/predditors-tumblr-creepshots reddit_n_1955897.html. Krauss, Rosalind. Passages in Modern Sculpture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981. Lepecki, André. “Moving as Thing: Choreographic Critiques of the Object.” October, Spring 2012. McCarthy, Tom. Remainder. New York: Random House, 2005. Morgan, Robert C. “Thoughts on Re-Performance, Experience, and Archivism.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 96, (2010): 1-15. Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” In Art in Theory 1900 1990, edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, 963-70. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993. Rainer, Yvonne. “A Quasi Survey of Some ‘Minimalist’ Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity Midst the Plethora, or An Analysis of Trio A.” Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, edited by Gregory Battcock, 262-272. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995.
Installation view of works by Julia Sherman, from left to right: Child At His Mother’s Knee, 2012; Portrait of Ethel Merz (Private Collection), 2012; Portrait of Fred Merz (In Process), 2012; I’m Not Doing This For Me, I’m Doing This For The Future of Our Child, 2012. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view of Julia Sherman, Lucy Becomes A Sculptress, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Julia Sherman, Homage To Lucyâ€™s First (and Last) Abstract Work, 2012.
Julia Sherman, Portrait of Ethel Merz (Private Collection), 2012.
Left: Bryan Zanisnik, Perhaps I Go Through Heavy Mountains, 2012. Right: Installation view. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Alicja Kwade, Gegen den Lauf, 2012.
Installation view and detail of S. A. C. (Student Art Collective) with Justin Lieberman, Condition Report, 2011-13. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view of Rachel Foullon, Stanchion (6 yield 5), 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view and detail of S. A. C. (Student Art Collective) with Justin Lieberman, Condition Report, 2011-13. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Berthold Lubetkinâ€™s Penguin Pool at the London Zoo. Courtesy Zoological Society of London. (Photo: F W Bond, 1934)
Installation view and detail of S. A. C. (Student Art Collective) with Justin Lieberman, The Desire To Transgress, To Produce Something That The System Cannot Digest, Is What The Entwined Machinery Of Pedagogy And Critical Reception Cannot But Perpetuate, Hence Recreating Its Own Cyclical Conditions Of Assimilationâ€”An Institutional Feedback Mechanism Predicated On Its Own Illusory Negation. Or, In 1931, Berthold Romanovich Lubetkin, A Student Of Naum Gabo, Political Radical, And Constructivist Architect, Executed One Of The First Public Commissions Of Iconically Recognizable Constructivism In A Western Context: The Penguin Pool At The London Zoo., 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Paul Branca, Wednesday, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
David Berezin, A Janitor Comes Into Money But Keeps His Day Job, 2012.
David Berezin, A New Direction (still), 2012.
David Berezin, A Cop Finds Romance Where He Least Expects It, 2012.
Korakrit Arunanondchai, 2556 (stills), 2013.
Installation view of Korakrit Arunanondchai, 2556, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view and detail of Korakrit Arunanondchai, 2556, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Molly Lowe, FORMED (still), 2013.
Installation view and still of Molly Lowe, FORMED, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Molly Lowe, FORMED (stills), 2013.
Installation views and details of Shana Lutker, Knock, Knot, Goose., 2013. (Photos: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view of Lea Cetera, Disappearance Performance as Elegy: Pseudoproblems in Art, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view and still of Lea Cetera, Panty Party with 64â€? I-Beam, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view and detail of Lea Cetera, Power Figure, 2012. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view and detail of Lea Cetera, Object, 2012. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view of Bryan Zanisnik, A Woman Waits For Me, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Installation view and detail of Bryan Zanisnik, A Woman Waits For Me, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
Detail of Bryan Zanisnik, A Woman Waits For Me, 2013. (Photo: Jason Mandella, 2013)
rituals of transubstantiation and mystic communion; in our consumer fantasies, fetishism and belief in reincarnation. Buddhist references abound, but they are refashioned to reflect the promiscuity of global markets. Sent through this profane network of information trade and highspeed commerce, the religion’s doctrine of enlightenment-through-austerity becomes apperception-through-overstimulation. Sacredness and spirituality are pitted against glitz and entertainment. Rather than searching for a conclusion, the work suggests a parallelism with various aesthetic oppositions. Take his MFA thesis installation (2012), where video screens guard a neonlaced funerary altar framing a DayGlo inlaid reproduction of Raphael’s School of Athens enlarged on mirrors. If Arunanondchai’s religion has any orthodoxy, it’s here in this kind of equivocation—not a failure to cohere but rather a seductive contrapposto. –A.E. Benenson KORAKRIT ARUNANONDCHAI Open Studio (garden), 2011 Mixed media installation 30’ x 50’ x 30’ Courtesy the artist Photo: Annick Thomas
Korakrit Arunanondchai is a holy seer for these times. He understands, perhaps better than anyone else, that the new temples of devotion are points of interface— technological riots where every conceivable medium, history, and register come together. Stretched acid-wash denim forms the pillars of a Thai shrine; streaming vegetation—neonlit and sparkling with strobe lights—becomes an unlikely oasis. Arunanondchai attempts to conjure his own spirit in A/V séances, silent before a TV or subsumed in a deafening electro-clash mantra. In our technologies, Arunanondchai finds the renewal of ancient
DAVID BEREZIN Vanitas 1, 2009 C-print 30” x 40” Courtesy the artist
David Berezin retools images, sound, graphics, and language to strip them of their original contexts and impose upon them alternate logics. The low-res stock images that comprise Berezin’s Photoshop collages borrow from still life painting as much as from fashion shoots or images from online stores. Individual elements are often out of proportion with one another, and conflicting light sources mean their surfaces are incongruous. Yet within their new settings—some of which are images themselves, others maquettes built by the artist—these forms cast similar shadows and respond to a common spatial structure and implied laws of physics. Rather than being trapped in perpetual vacuity, these constitutive parts promise a coherent narrative. In a move that emphasizes the constant wrestling between nostalgia for analog aesthetics and the seduction of digital ease, Berezin finishes his collages by increasing their resolution—a futile task— and then applying a simulated film grain effect. In his videos too, such digital/analog crossings produce a discordance that draws attention to the effects associated with each medium. Berezin also disrupts chronological time—abutting disparate stock images within recognizable frames, he completely levels out time; repetition in his videos destines the footage to either an enduring moment or an infinite loop. Images hover without time and somewhat disconcertingly between the screen and surface emulsion; somewhere between real and simulated space. –Alicia Ritson
PAUL BRANCA Couch Crash (installation view), 2010 Mixed media Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist
Paul Branca is concerned with what goes into making a painting—not the materials per se, but the conditions that enable painting to happen in the present moment. His works are more than discrete objects; they are interrelational and take up the modes of their own distribution. For Couch Crash, 2010, friends of the artist were gifted select paintings during the exhibition’s opening. The pieces Branca had designated as “leftover”—the ones bearing traces of process—remained in the gallery for purchase. Here, as elsewhere, Branca goes beyond signposting economic exchange to consider how works actually shift and accrue meaning as they continue to move through various social contexts. It may be a hard ask for one of the art world’s most traditional and stable mediums to account for what exists outside or beside itself, but this is exactly the challenge Branca takes up. His works have run the gamut from poorly-translated German text paintings to representational compositions depicting Post-its arranged in the shapes of digits from the artist’s phone number. Others yet have repurposed the imagery and graphics of 43
phone cards, going so far as to function as such for the specific communities of immigrants within the artist’s neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens. Such instances of social engagement—indeed, of collaboration—are key to Branca’s practice. His 20% Chance of Show, for which a handful of artists were asked to paint umbrellas for a “temporary exhibition” in MoMA’s foyer, is further testament to his paintings as thoroughly social things. –Alicia Ritson
LEA CETERA Fursona Mask (detail), 2011 Mixed media installation Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist
cartoon animals). Across the room, Cetera sat in front of her computer, her head and the screen enveloped in a long, black veil—an internet cafe freak absorbed in an onanistic browsing binge. On the intervening wall, a YouTube compilation of “furries” demoing their costumes ran on a loop. Borrowing techniques from theatrical stage design, puppetry, and DIY craft, Cetera uses online tutorials to reproduce prosaiclooking objects that hide erotic fascinations. As in the communities she explores, Cetera broaches the sexual content of her objects obliquely and in relation to their quotidian qualities. To these, Cetera adds projections that show earlier states of the objects and/or herself at work on them, so that the installations are perpetually being interrupted by their own screen specter. This uncanny puncture of the screen illuminates the seductive power of all screens—digital, analogue, even figurative, —which lies not in their durability, but in their delicacy: that which safely separates us from our objects of desire might vanish at any moment. –A.E. Benenson
To enter one of Lea Cetera’s installations is to be immediately implicated into strange networks of libidinal exchange; her forms conspire to make us feel like the unwitting voyeur; despite—or because of—our discomfort, we are transfixed and exhilarated. In 2011, Cetera compressed a series of interrelated vignettes into her darkened studio, turning it into a kind of living storyboard. On one wall, a window screened by Venetian blinds gave partial views onto the lurid, green glow of a desk lamp showing an animatronic wolf mask modeled after a fetish costume popular with “furries” (a community based on sexual role-play with 44
RACHEL FOULLON Cruel Radiance (Washboard), 2012 Antique washboard, polished nickel plated brass, dyed canvas and hardware 27” x 27” x 4.5” Courtesy the artist and ltd los angeles Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
Rachel Foullon’s recent sculptures and installations show a commitment to objects and materials that index manual labor and domestic tasks—ropes, strapping, pulleysystems, hand-turned wood, hand-dyed fabrics, washboards. These objects, perhaps found, perhaps recycled, are cleaned, refinished, and artfully arranged, privileging a pride in materials and presentation over the evidence of actual labor and memories by wear-and-tear. Foullon’s works are not, however, translated into merely fashionable commodities. The bindings—literally and figuratively—of materials and objects within
her installations and assemblages speak of struggle and negotiation. Some of these relations are hostile, others are intimate; all of them negate an art of depersonalized, autonomous forms. If there is abstraction here, it is tethered to the work and life of cohabiting subjects. While Foullon’s materials possess a sense of immediacy, they are, in fact, directed by instructional texts. Her Deck series, for one, reconfigures the original gray kit home that Foullon found in a Hawaiian real estate pamphlet, while the garments featured in her “clusters” draw from historical patterns of the 1920s and 1930s Sears catalogs. Farming and building manuals have similarly, and perhaps most persistently, been a source for the artist’s sustained interest in instruction-based endeavors. It’s in the research stages that Foullon appropriates these texts, rerouting the desire for improvement and American ingenuity. –Alicia Ritson
JUSTIN LIEBERMAN The Corrector’s Custom Pre-Fab House, 2009 Mixed Media Overall dimensions variable; steel base 10’ x 16’ Courtesy the artist and Marc Jancou Contemporary
Outsider art is what critics call aesthetic experiments that naively stumble upon the concerns of art proper. But what of its 45
opposite, work that moves from the references and resources of fine art into the wildernesses of imagination beyond its borders? Justin Lieberman makes this kind of inside-out art. Take the sculpture Monument (2012), a lilting stack of gray cabinets the size of a small van filled with personal effects: hand-bound books, novelties, remnants of artworks. One drawer contains miniature Santa hats, another, dozens of glued-together cookbooks, and still one more, an old art history course reader sutured to loose leaf sheets of found elementary school homework. Like all of Lieberman’s work, the seemingly random accumulation of material belies a deceptively focused and conceptual practice: here everything he has collected is already a container for collection. His installation The Corrector in the High Castle (2009) is a recreation of a fictitious fascist’s archive of Americana. Here Lieberman’s reflexive interest in organizational structures swells to include politics, sci-fi, and Fordism. Objects continue to bear the imprint of their original systems, but Lieberman’s recursive techniques (re-appropriation, reproduction, and collage) makes each new again. It’s in this excess, this endless drive to make cryptic constellations, that Lieberman can be called an outsider artist. There is simultaneously too much and too little on display in Lieberman’s work for us to understand exactly what we are seeing; we are not in the presence of a thing but in its afterglow, the radiation of a febrile mind at work on some cosmology of meaning that may even be a mystery to itself. –A.E. Benenson
MOLLY LOWE Body Boat, 2009 Poster 24” x 36” Courtesy the artist
Molly Lowe’s practice is a paradox, revealing that all of the effort spent on refining our surface only succeeds in bringing forth the coarse, untamed stuff from below. The recurrent subjects of Lowe’s videos and installations are less people than human vessels—fleshy approximations that approach the uncanny valley of human form from a decidedly low-tech and visceral materiality: watery clay, tawny spandex, clownish makeup. In a video from 2011 titled In Shape, Lowe encapsulates a performer riding an elliptical machine with a giant fleshcolored sack; the thrusting angles and edges 46
of the equipment meld with those of its pilot. A television hanging from above runs nightmarish clips of Lowe’s blanked-out flesh blobs dubbed to the live panting of the mic’d exercise chimera. Here, the artificial violence of self-improvement products— fitness, cleansing, make-up—creates bodily surfaces that are both smoother and more distressed than what we find in reality. The flat tones and simplified features of Lowe’s skin-costumes conjure the image of a badlyaging mannequin. The garish vitality hawked by commercial displays and advertising provides a steady source of surrealist imagery for Lowe, but so does the body. It harbors a grotesque excess—an overflowing container, smothered in skin, seeping with fluids and emitting guttural sounds. These pressures, both commercial and biological, are simultaneously present in her work, a pair of opposite forces converging from either side—without, within—onto the surface of body. –A.E. Benenson
Interpretation is as integral to art as to the psychoanalytic field that informs Shana Lutker’s practice. The human presence in her spare, furniture-like sculptures and installations is hard to ignore: these are things made to accommodate the body. So too are they sometimes stand-ins for phantasmic objects. In particular, Lutker’s display collections reference an unconscious that resides in the domestic sphere and in the spaces of the studio and the consultation room. These objects lend themselves to Freud’s description of the uncanny: where what is closest is both familiar and strange. For Lutker, psychoanalysis is a method for tracing the emotional relationships between history and politics. Her interest plays out in a kind of tug-ofwar between narratives, both personal and collective. Various psychoanalytic notions and histories have at once been “tried on” but also critiqued in her work, as is the case for Charcot’s account of hysteria, the basis for her 2010 exhibition H. Y. S. T. et al. The theater set provides Lutker with another scenario wherein objects and settings anticipate the characters who have, and who will, act upon them. Lutker is sensitive to the effects of staging, as well as to conventional roles people absorb and unwittingly play. As such, her arrangements offer one of many possibilities for setting out relationships. Lutker’s pieces speak of idiosyncrasies in collecting, directed by the impulses of a market that trades in the symbolic. –Alicia Ritson
SHANA LUTKER H. Y. S. T. et al. (installation view), 2010 Mixed media Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
JULIA SHERMAN Presence in Absence (detail), 2011 Pine Wood, C-Prints, plexi-glass, hand-written Note From Sister Noella (“The Cheese Nun”) 6’ x 4’ x 1’ Courtesy the artist
them is complex yet emboldening. Sherman becomes deeply involved with her subjects, drawing them out of their sometimes esoteric, fictitious, or personal worlds and into a present moment where they are easier to access. Sherman often embeds herself in the economies and communities that her subjects themselves are engaged in. A sort of apprenticeship in the globally expansive process of hand-made shietels (Orthodox Jewish head coverings) is one such example, as is the artist’s collaboration designing apparel for Mother Mary Magdalene and her Sisters of The Community of Compassion in Fort Worth, Texas. Along with the wig and the habit, Sherman reworks and repositions other symbolic objects from popular culture, folk life, and art history. Sherman,more often than not, devotes her energies to lives and representations of women. From the unwedded woman who spins wool by moonlight in spite of the Kabbalah in Mother-of-All (2008), to the Miss Americas of 1968 and 1969 in Sherman’s recent body of work, Here She Comes (2012), Sherman’s practice is concerned with how agency—often (broadly) creative, sometimes productive—factors into each of her subjects’ lives. –Alicia Ritson
There is a closeness with individuals and cultural artifacts alike, as well as with their related histories and existential concerns in Julia Sherman’s multifaceted, researchbased art. The subjects of Sherman’s photoessays, photographs, and videos are often representative of the most orthodox, iconic, or well-known iterations of cultural life, whether it be an order of Anglican Catholic nuns, one of Picasso’s demoiselles, or a pioneering American suffragette. Her treatment of 48
BRYAN ZANISNIK Off Season (detail), 2010 Triptych photograph 40” x 78” Courtesy the artist and Aspect Ratio, Chicago
Zanisnik’s practice. He renders this critique most evocatively in his dense installations, tableaux vivants of suburban accumulation. A cross between a house museum and a pharaoh’s tomb, Zanisnik’s cardboard and duct-tape sets bristle with artifacts—trophies, postcards, photos, trinkets—from his own past, dug out from basements and attics. For his performances, Zanisnik, oftentimes accompanied by his parents, holds court over his sets as the wimpy, prodigal son, typically rapt in the silent repetition of some regressive or self-indulgent task. In Every Inch a Man (Abrons Art Center, 2011), he stood for hours inside of a Plexiglass case, reading a Philip Roth novel and eating a sandwich— the absurd midpoint between David Blaine and Andy Kaufman. Of particular interest to Zanisnik are mass-produced mementos, like diplomas, greeting cards, and commemorative plates that readily absorb personal histories precisely because they are generic. By augmenting his childhood collections with random thrift store finds, Zanisnik heightens the inherent paradoxes of a past built on the shaky edifice of personalized kitsch. Here, like our memories, superficial cohesion is the surest sign of a fractured foundation. –A.E. Benenson
The largest, most revisited, and least reliable archive we will ever know is drawn from our own youth. To say then that Bryan Zanisnik’s installations and performances of domestic juvenilia fail to reconcile this archive into a comprehensible whole is not to say that they are failures, but rather that they successfully capture our futile compulsion to make sense of these memories. That our memories are made out of stuff—material things and little more—is the most basic and absurd realization of 49
Checklist of Works in the Exhibition
Korakrit Arunanondchai 2556, 2013 Two channel video installation with performances; performers: Korakrit Arunanondchai, Jesus Benavente, Amber Hawk Swanson, Park McArthur, Sarah Workneh 8 x 9 x 34 inches (20.32 x 22.86 x 86.36 cm) Courtesy the artist and C L E A R I N G New York/Brussels
Thursday, 2013 Oil on totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist
David Berezin A Cop Finds Romance Where He Least Expects It, 2012 C-print 40 x 50 inches (101.6 x 127 cm) Courtesy the artist
Saturday-(got nothing), 2013 Oil on totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist
A Janitor Comes Into Money But Keeps His Day Job, 2012 C-print 40 x 50 inches (101.6 x 127 cm) Courtesy the artist A New Direction, 2012 Video with sound, loop Courtesy the artist
Paul Branca Monday, 2013 Oil on totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist Tuesday, 2013 Orbit wintermint chewing gum mounted on oil on totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist Wednesday, 2013 Oil on totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist
Friday, 2013 Oil on totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist
Sunday, 2013 Oil on Muji totebag 12.25 x 15.25 inches (31.12 x 38.74 cm) Courtesy the artist
Lea Cetera Disappearance Performance as Elegy: Pseudoproblems in Art, 2013 Installation Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist Streamer, 2012 Original and found video, venetian blinds, window, steel frames, sanded plexi, sandbags 15:00 Original footage: Variations, 2012, performer: Ivy Haldeman Youtube found footage: 100 photos from serial killer Rodney Alcalaâ€™s locker; Einstein the Parrot and the Mirror Buddy; and Ragdoll Kitten Goes Crazy by Own Reflection Courtesy the artist Object, 2013 Glass plate hologram 4 x 5 inches (10.16 x 12.7 cm) Courtesy the artist
Power Figure, 2012 Steel channel, plate, I-beam, elastic, shoulder pads, white satin negligée, C-clamps 12 x 20 x 24 inches (30.48 x 50.8 x 60.96 cm) Courtesy the artist Panty Party with 64” I-Beam, 2013 Steel, bra (purchased from Martha Rosler’s Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, 2012) 24 x 36 x 72 inches (60.96 x 91.44 x 182.88 cm) Video projection, 15:00 Performers: Lea Cetera, Lisa Cobbe, Jesse Cohen, Ivy Haldeman, Leigh Ruple, Avery Singer Courtesy the artist
Rachel Foullon Stanchion (6 yield 5), 2013 Cedar, manila rope, canvas, hardware, stain, dye, spray paint 105 x 216 x 45 inches (266.7 x 548.64 x 114.3 cm) Courtesy the artist and ltd los angeles
S. A. C. (Student Art Collective) with Justin Lieberman Condition Report, 2011-13 Student paintings with damage and conservation, altered studio wall with casters, sightline Courtesy the artist The Desire To Transgress, To Produce Something That The System Cannot Digest, Is What The Entwined Machinery Of Pedagogy And Critical Reception Cannot But Perpetuate, Hence Recreating Its Own Cyclical Conditions Of Assimilation —An Institutional Feedback
Mechanism Predicated On Its Own Illusory Negation. Or, In 1931, Berthold Romanovich Lubetkin, A Student Of Naum Gabo, Political Radical, And Constructivist Architect, Executed One Of The First Public Commissions Of Iconically Recognizable Constructivism In A Western Context: The Penguin Pool At The London Zoo., 2013 Silenced toy Courtesy the artist
Molly Lowe FORMED, 2013 HD video with sound 6:00 Courtesy the artist
Shana Lutker Knock, Knot, Goose., 2013 Mixed media Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
Julia Sherman Homage To Lucy’s First (and Last) Abstract Work, 2012 C-Print 16 x 20 inches (40.64 x 50.8 cm) Courtesy the artist
Portrait of Fred Merz (In Process), 2012 C-print 16 x 20 inches (40.64 x 50.8 cm) Courtesy the artist I’m Not Doing This For Me, I’m Doing This For The Future of Our Child, 2012 HD video with sound 3:50 Courtesy the artist Lucy Becomes A Sculptress, 2013 Video with sound 25:30 Courtesy the artist
Bryan Zanisnik Perhaps I Go Through Heavy Mountains, 2012 Photograph 27 x 35 inches (68.58 x 88.9 cm) Courtesy the artist and Aspect Ratio, Chicago A Woman Waits For Me, 2013 Site-specific installation and performance Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and Aspect Ratio, Chicago
Child At His Mother’s Knee, 2012 C-Print 16 x 20 inches (40.64 x 50.8 cm) Courtesy the artist Portrait of Ethel Merz (Private Collection), 2012 C-print 16 x 20 inches (40.64 x 50.8 cm) Courtesy the artist
SculptureCenter Board of Trustees Sascha S. Bauer, Chair Fred Wilson, President Danielle Anderman Andreas Beroutsos Sanford Biggers James L. Bodnar Jean Griffin Borho Allen H. Brill Priscilla Vail Caldwell William G. Dobbins Robert K. Elliott Arline Feinberg John H. Friedman Glauco Lolli-Ghetti Nate McBride Elena M. Paul Lisa Schiff Diane Solomon Elaine G. Weitzen
SculptureCenter Staff Mary Ceruti, Executive Director Frederick Janka, Associate Director Kim Schnaubert, Development Director Ruba Katrib, Curator Kristen Chappa, Assistant Curator Ella Gold, Assistant to the Director Stephanie Weissberg, Visitor Services and Membership Manager Steven Mayer, Visitor Engagement Representative Morgan Edelbrock, Chief Installer Kiersten Lukason, Installer
Double Life Presented through the In Practice program January 14 - March 25, 2013
Korakrit Arunanondchai David Berezin Paul Branca Lea Cetera Rachel Foullon Molly Lowe Shana Lutker S. A. C. with Justin Lieberman Julia Sherman Bryan Zanisnik
Curated by Kristen Chappa
Texts by A. E. Benenson Kristen Chappa Alicia Ritson