Two New Exhibitions By Emerging Artists Will Be Presented By The Whitney This Summer.
“Following close on the heels of the Biennial, The Whitney’s summer season builds on the strong energy of our emerging artists program,” remarked Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “Both born in 1990, Bunny Rogers and Willa Nasatir offer a pair of distinct but complementary visions. Each explores mysterious, often dark, narratives within stagey, lapidary tableaus, Rogers through sculpture and video, Nasatir in photography.”
For her first solo museum exhibition, Rogers will create a new body of work to be installed in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery on the Museum’s first floor, which is free and open to the public. The exhibition goes on view on July 7.
In her work, Bunny Rogers (b. 1990, Houston, TX) draws from a personal cosmology to explore shared experiences of loss, alienation, and a search for belonging. Her layered installations, videos, and sculptures begin with wide-ranging references, from young-adult fiction and early 2000s cartoons, like Clone High, to autobiographical events and spectacles of mass violence, such as the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Rogers’s techniques are as idiosyncratic as her subject matter. She borrows from theater costuming, design, and industrial furniture manufacturing, and often crafts her work by hand. This hybrid approach gives Rogers’s objects and spaces a distinct texture; they read simultaneously as slick and intimate, highly constructed, but also sincere.
Elisabeth Sherman, an assistant curator at the Whitney, who is co-curating the exhibition with curatorial assistant Margaret Kross, noted: “Rogers’s work reveals how certain emotions and traits that we consider to be completely opposite, like empathy and hate, sincerity and deceit, really exist in shades of grey. To paraphrase Rogers’s own words, the viewer may find that both extremes sit within themselves.”
Rogers has had solo exhibitions at Greenspon Gallery, New York; Foundation de 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, BE; Société, Berlin; and Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. An artist book, Flowers for Orgonon, will be published in 2017.
For her Whitney exhibition, Willa Nasatir will present a significant new body of work in addition to a selection of earlier works, produced over the past few years. The exhibition will be installed in the Kaufman Gallery on the Museum’s fifth floor, adjacent to the exhibition Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, with which it runs concurrently from July 14 through October 1.
In her work, Willa Nasatir (b. 1990, Los Angeles, CA) creates photographs that routinely begin as makeshift sculptures, assembled in her studio out of an array of unexpected objects. Using elements as disparate as decorative fans, copper tubing, and a car headlight, Nasatir composes these objects, which she then photographs and re-photographs, subjecting the surfaces to various material and light effects. The resulting works are hand-manipulated images that become psychologically charged and difficult to discern; the viewer is left to parse out unresolved narratives that the image only implies. As Nasatir herself explains, “I’m less interested in photography as a medium for depicting the ‘real’ than I am in its capacity to display the other-worldly.” Creating works of varying scale, Nasatir makes compositions that function as part-still life, part-portrait (notably without bodies), as they evoke a surreal urban landscape that’s simultaneously difficult to place while seemingly amidst a state of decay.
Nasatir has had solo exhibitions at Chapter Gallery, NY; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles; and White Columns, New York.
The Nasatir exhibition is organized by Jane Panetta, an associate curator. Major support for Bunny Rogers is provided by John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Generous support is provided by Jackson Tang.