Annenberg Space for Photography’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Continues With “W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine”

Announcing the groundbreaking new photo exhibit that explores the use of walls across civilizations and over centuries – plus, “Light the Barricades,” a companion multi-site public art installation

Photo by Ami Vitale

Annenberg Space for Photography, L.A.’s premier destination for photography, explores the creation and use of walls over centuries and across civilizations with its new exhibition, W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine. The show also includes the companion interactive public art installation Light the Barricades, located at three separate locations around the city, before coming together for presentation on the plaza just outside the Photo Space for the duration of the W|ALLS exhibit.

Forrest Meyers. Photo by Joseph Carlson

Annenberg Space for Photography is a cultural destination dedicated to exhibiting both digital and print photography in an intimate environment. The space features state-of-the-art, high-definition digital technology, traditional prints by some of the world’s most renowned photographers, and a selection of emerging photographic talents as well. The venue, an initiative of the Annenberg Foundation and its trustees, is the first solely photographic cultural destination in the Los Angeles area, creating a new paradigm in the world of photography.

Eastern State Penitentiary, PA. Photo by Bill Yates.

Opening October 5, W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine examines the artistic, social, and political use of walls throughout history. From the Berlin Wall and Jerusalem’s Western Wall, to the Great Wall of China – as well as barriers built in India, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland, and along the United States’ southern border – the exhibition delves into our long history of building walls and defining territories.

Photo by Tony De Los Reyes

The exhibit is divided into six sections: Delineation, Defense, Deterrent, The Divine, Decoration, and The Invisible. In each section, the work of photographers and artists – who have trained their eye on walls of all kinds throughout the world – will examine their architectural role in society, and the effects they have on the people who live near them. The section meanings overlap and change over time, much like the walls themselves – erected for one reason, their appearance and use is altered and modified, reflecting the civilizations that have grown and evolved around them. The show is curated by Dr. Jen Sudul Edwards, the Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

9/11 Museum. Photo by Spencer Finch

W|ALLS features more than 70 artists, including Carol Guzy, Moises Saman, SHAN Wallace, Banksy, JR, John Moore, Marina Abramović, and Tanya Aguiñiga. Many of these featured photographers and artists will be included in a new, original documentary commissioned by the Annenberg Foundation exclusively for the exhibition.

The Annenberg Space for Photography has a long history of exploring our shared humanity around the world,” said Annenberg Foundation Chairman, President, and CEO Wallis Annenberg. “The W|ALLS exhibit will encourage visitors to explore the complex and multifaceted use of walls and challenge preconceived notions of why we build them. With Light the Barricades, we’re also offering public spaces for reflection and solidarity.”

Photo by AP Photo/Oded Bality

Light the Barricades is the Annenberg Space for Photography’s first foray into public art. From September 6 through September 22, the walls will be installed at three locations across Los Angeles– the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park.

Photo by Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

The installation consists of three 8′ x 27′ solar-powered walls illuminated from within (similar to a photographer’s lightbox) at all hours and features a fable on one side and a station for visitor reflection on the other. Created by Candy Chang (the artist behind the popular Before I Die public art project) and James A. Reeves, Light the Barricades was inspired by the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese texts. Each wall will feature a word in large text that represents an emotional barrier: Resentment, Judgment, and Doubt. Offering an engaging opportunity for contemplation – both physically and emotionally – these walls shine a light on the difficult emotions that face individuals every day.

Photo by Grant Scroggie

When we considered how walls are used today, our first thought was the advertising that covers our cities. We want to translate the language of billboards into a contemporary ritual for contemplation, perhaps even a moment of humility,” said Candy Chang and James A. Reeves. “We selected the topics of resentment, judgment, and doubt not only because these emotions are largely universal, but they feel especially resonant today. They echo the psychosocial dynamics defining the current American mood. By reckoning with these barriers at a personal level, perhaps we can become more compassionate in our public life.”

Photo by Raffaelle Miraglia

Light the Barricades‘ three separate lightboxes will ultimately be presented together as one installation at the Photo Space in Century City for the duration of W|ALLS: Defend, Divide and the Divine, from October 5 through December 29, 2019.

Photo by Tony De Los Reyes

As a former Angeleno, I have visited the Annenberg Space for Photography often, and have learned much about the beauty and difficulties in our world through its illuminating shows,” said curator Dr. Jen Sudul Edwards. “Photography documents the human condition with a visual language broadly understood, capturing even the most delicate, complicated, urgent, and uplifting circumstances. The Annenberg Space for Photography offers a place to come together and contemplate our shared history and humanity; I’m honored to have been invited to curate W|ALLS and Light the Barricades and to contribute to that decade-long legacy.”

Photo by Raymond Thompson, Jr

Annenberg Space for Photography will also offer a variety of public programs to coincide with the exhibition, including unique workshops, educational and participatory panels, and conversations, as well as field trips, family activities, and more. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art to Present Celebrated Film Trilogy and New Performance by Artist Yael Bartana

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will premiere Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies!, a new site-specific public performance by acclaimed Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana. Scheduled to take place on September 22, 2018 (through to January 1, 2019) at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, this performance will be presented as part of a solo exhibition at the Museum dedicated to the artist’s provocative film trilogy, And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007-2011). Marking its Philadelphia debut, this trilogy will be an immersive installation in the Joan Spain Gallery of the Museum’s Perelman Building.

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Portrait of Yael Bartana. Photo by Birgit Kaulfuss. Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

Born in 1970 in Kfar Yehezkel, Israel, Yael Bartana lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. In her films, installations, and photographs, Bartana investigates the ideas of homeland, return, and belonging, often in ceremonies, memorials, public rituals, and actions that are intended to reaffirm and question collective identities and ideas of the nation or the state.

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Image from “Zamach (Assassination),” 2011, by Yael Bartana. From the trilogy “And Europe Will Be Stunned.” (Collection of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; purchased by the PMA with funds contributed by Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch and the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and purchased by the WAC, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013). Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

Taking the complex history of Jewish-Polish identity as its point of departure, And Europe Will Be Stunned addresses the themes of nationhood, memory, and belonging that are integral to Bartana’s work. It first debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2011, where Bartana represented Poland. Shortly thereafter, the trilogy was jointly acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Employing a visual vocabulary reminiscent of Stalinist and Zionist propaganda of the early 20th century, And Europe Will be Stunned chronicles the radical program of a fictional political movement called the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP). Created by Bartana, together with Polish activist Sławomir Sierakowski, the JRMiP advocates for the return of over three million Jews to their forgotten Polish homeland. Informed by the histories of the Israeli settlement movement, Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the Palestinian right of return, the trilogy uses the real and the imagined to speak to global complexities about identity and self-determination in an increasingly unstable world.

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Still from “Mur i wieża (Wall and Tower),” 2009, by Yael Bartana. From the trilogy “And Europe Will Be Stunned.” (Collection of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; purchased by the PMA with funds contributed by Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch and the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and purchased by the WAC, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013). Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

Beyond the walls of the Philadelphia Museum, Bartana will realize Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies! as a means of extending the themes of the artist’s trilogy into the birthplace of American democracy – Philadelphia. Bartana’s performance is a call to action, aiming to make visible the systems of violence and displacement that have been perpetuated through weapons, both literal and symbolic. As the title suggests, the performance will bury these weapons, rendering them useless, as they are incorporated into a choreographed funeral—a living monument—that will include a staged procession and a collective eulogy about war and survival. The movements of the performers are inspired by those of Israeli artist and dance composer Noa Eshkol (1924-2007), specifically evoking Eshkol’s 1953 memorial assembly performed in remembrance to the Holocaust. Bringing together funerary tradition, military ritual, and personal testimony, Bartana’s new performance will deepen the artist’s investigations into the construction of memory and the aesthetics of national identity.

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Still from “Mary Koszmary (Nightmares),” 2007, by Yael Bartana. From the trilogy “And Europe Will Be Stunned.” (Collection of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; purchased by the PMA with funds contributed by Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch and the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and purchased by the WAC, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013). Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

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The Whitney To Present The First Andy Warhol Retrospective Organized by a U.S. Institution Since 1989

Andy Warhol—From A To B And Back Again, The First Major Reexamination Of Warhol’s Art In A Generation, To Open At The Whitney On November 12

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again—the first Andy Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989, and the largest in terms of its scope of ideas and range of works—will be an occasion to experience and reconsider the work of one of the most inventive, influential, and important American artists. With more than 350 works of art, many assembled together for the first time, this landmark exhibition, organized by The Whitney Museum of American Art, will unite all aspects, media, and periods of Warhol’s forty-year career. Curated by Warhol authority Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, with Christie Mitchell, curatorial assistant, and Mark Loiacono, curatorial research associate, the survey debuts at the Whitney on November 12, 2018, where it will run through March 31, 2019.

 

While Warhol’s Pop images of the 1960s are recognizable worldwide, what remains far less known is the work he produced in the 1970s and 80s. This exhibition positions Warhol’s career as a continuum, demonstrating that he didn’t slow down after surviving the assassination attempt that nearly took his life in 1968, but entered into a period of intense experimentation, continuing to use the techniques he’d developed early on and expanding upon his previous work. Taking the 1950s and his experience as a commercial illustrator as foundational, and including numerous masterpieces from the 1960s, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again tracks and reappraises the later work of the 1970s and 80s through to Warhol’s untimely death in 1987.

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Andy Warhol (1928–1987), Self-Portrait, 1964. Acrylic, metallic paint, and silkscreen ink on linen, 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York

(Following its premiere at the Whitney, the exhibition will travel to two other major American art museums, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago. Bank of America is the National Tour Sponsor)

Perhaps more than any artist before or since, Andy Warhol understood America’s defining twin desires for innovation and conformity, public visibility and absolute privacy,” noted De Salvo. “He transformed these contradictory impulses into a completely original art that, I believe, has profoundly influenced how we see and think about the world now. Warhol produced images that are now so familiar, it’s easy to forget just how unsettling and even shocking they were when they debuted. He pioneered the use of an industrial silkscreen process as a painterly brush to repeat images ‘identically’, creating seemingly endless variations that call the very value of our cultural icons into question. His repetitions, distortions, camouflaging, incongruous color, and recycling of his own imagery anticipated the most profound effects and issues of our current digital age when we no longer know which images to trust. From the 1950s until his death, Warhol challenged our fundamental beliefs, particularly our faith in images, even while he sought to believe in those images himself. Looking in this exhibition at the full sweep of his career makes it clear that Warhol was not just a twentieth-century titan but a seer of the twenty-first century as well.

Occupying the entirety of the Whitney’s fifth-floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, the adjacent Kaufman Gallery, the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Lobby Gallery, the Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again will be the largest exhibition devoted to a single artist yet to be presented in the Whitney’s downtown location. Tickets will be available on the Whitney’s website beginning in August.large_68.25_warhol_resized

Through his carefully cultivated persona and willingness to experiment with non-traditional art-making techniques, Andy Warhol (1928–1987) understood the growing power of images in contemporary life and helped to expand the role of the artist in society, making him one of the most distinct and internationally recognized American artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition sets out to prove that there remains far more to Warhol and his work than is commonly known. While the majority of exhibitions, books, articles, and films devoted to Warhol’s art have focused on a single medium, subject, series, or period, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again will employ a chronological and thematic methodology that illuminates the breadth, depth, and interconnectedness of the artist’s production: from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s, to the experimental work in film and other mediums from the 1960s and 70s, to his innovative use of readymade abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s. The show’s title is taken from Warhol’s 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), an aphoristic memoir in which the artist gathered his thoughts on fame, love, beauty, class, money, and other key themes.

Building on a wealth of new materials, research and scholarship that has emerged since the artist’s untimely death in 1987, as well as De Salvo’s own expertise and original research conducted by the Whitney’s curatorial team, the checklist of works has been carefully selected from amongst the thousands of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, films, videos, and photographs that Warhol produced during his lifetime.

Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, commented: “This exhibition takes a fresh focus, while continuing the Whitney’s decades-long engagement with Warhol’s work which we presented in 1971 in a traveling retrospective and in Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s, organized by the Whitney in 1979–80. Few have had the opportunity to see an in-depth presentation of his career, and account for the scale, vibrant color, and material richness of the objects themselves. This exhibition, to be presented in three cities, will allow visitors to experience the work of one of America’s greatest cultural figures firsthand, and to better comprehend Warhol’s artistic genius and fearless experimentation.”

Early Work

The exhibition covers the entirety of Warhol’s career, beginning with a concentrated focus on the commercial and private work he made between 1948 and 1960. Arriving in New York from his native Pittsburgh in the summer of 1949, Warhol began his career in an advertising world that was increasingly technological, and, concurrently, an art world obsessed with originality and the authenticity of the hand-made mark. The 1950s were a foundational period for the artist, a young gay man, beginning to find his way in the city. Though far less known than his later work, the commercial art that Warhol produced during his first decade in New York lays the groundwork for many of the themes and aesthetic devices that he would develop throughout the length of his career. Continue reading

The Whitney To Present Eckhaus Latta: Possessed

This summer, The Whitney Museum of American Art will present the first museum solo exhibition of Eckhaus Latta, the New York-and Los Angeles-based fashion label, founded in 2011 by Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. Eckhaus Latta: Possessed highlights the work of this compelling young design team who belong to a new generation of designers operating at the intersection of fashion and contemporary art.

Untitled (Preparatory drawing for Possessed), 2018. Colored pencil on paper. Image courtesy the artists

Untitled (Preparatory drawing for Possessed), 2018. Colored pencil on paper. Image courtesy the artists

Eckhaus Latta’s fashion designs—for which they are currently finalists for the 2018 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers—explore, in part, identity and reflect the fluid nature of gender and sexuality. While they fully participate in the fashion system, Latta and Eckhaus remain self-aware of their roles in a consumer society. Their recognizable designs have featured experimental knitwear; a wide range of materials including lace, rust, and recycled fabrics; and a general approach that supersedes gender binaries. At times, models are sent down the runway wearing clothes that challenge traditional definitions of male and female. Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic at the New York Times, wrote that their clothes “are a kind of petri dish of associative splicing,” and that they “grapple honestly with what is on the designers’ minds: questions of gender and difference and the details of fallible beauty…

This will be the first exhibition related to fashion at the Museum in twenty-one years, since The Warhol Look: Glamour, Style, Fashion (1997).

Eckhaus Latta: Possessed is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, and Lauri London Freedman, head of product development.

The exhibition, part of the Museum’s emerging artist series, will be on view in the first-floor John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery from August 3 through October 8, 2018. Access to the gallery is free of charge.

Mike Eckhaus (b. 1987, New York, NY) and Zoe Latta (b. 1987, Santa Cruz, CA) met as students at the Rhode Island School of Design while studying sculpture and textiles, respectively. They are known for using unexpected materials, emphasizing texture and tactility in their designs, and for incorporating writing, performance, and video into their practice. Through their emphasis on collaboration—with artists, musicians, and others—and an approach that plays with, and against, industry conventions, Eckhaus Latta addresses the crosscurrents of desire, consumption, and social relations. Their work has been featured in Greater New York 2015 at MoMA PS1 and Made in L.A. (2016) at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

As part of the Whitney’s emerging artist program, we sometimes showcase creative figures outside of the visual arts,” said Lew. “These figures from fields such as fashion, music, architecture, design, and food approach their disciplines in ways that are akin to visual artists, often questioning the systems and parameters that define what they do, speaking to the broader cultural moment, and blurring the boundaries between disciplines.”

Working with Mike and Zoe has challenged us to consider the roles that our Museum spaces play and the objects that are presented. They pushed us to ask broader questions such as ‘How can we reexamine the format of an exhibition?’ and ‘What is the best way to exhibit an artist’s work?’ said Freedman.

For their Whitney exhibition, Eckhaus Latta will create a new three-part installation that embraces and brings into conversation various aspects of the fashion industry, from advertising and the consumer experience to voyeurism. At the entrance to the gallery will be a sequence of photographs that play on the tropes of iconic photoshoots found in fashion advertisements and magazines. These photographs explore how Eckhaus Latta’s unique aesthetic functions in relation to the highly polished look of the industry’s media. The core of their installation will be an operational retail environment in which visitors are welcome to touch, try on, and purchase clothing and accessories designed specifically for the show. This space is made in collaboration with more than a dozen artists whom Eckhaus Latta has been in dialogue with over the years who have created functional elements such as clothing racks, display shelves, and a dressing room. The exhibition concludes with a darkened room, evocative of a security office, which features a bank of screens depicting surveillance footage. Visitors will have a voyeuristic view of not only the rest of the installation but a glimpse of the tracking and surveillance that so often accompanies the experience of shopping.

The featured collaborators are Susan Cianciolo (b. 1969, Providence, RI; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Lauren Davis Fisher (b. 1984, Cambridge, MA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Avena Venus Gallagher (b. 1973, Seattle, WA; lives and works in New York, NY), Jeffrey Joyal (b. 1988, Boston, MA; lives and works in New York, NY), Alexa Karolinski (b. 1984, Berlin, Germany; lives and works in Los Angeles), Valerie Keane (b. 1989, Passaic, NJ; lives and works in New York, NY), Jay Latta (b. 1951, Santa Cruz, CA; lives in works in Santa Cruz, CA), Matthew Lutz-Kinoy (b. 1984, New York, NY; lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Paris, France), Annabeth Marks (b.1986, Rochester, NY; lives and works in New York, NY), Riley O’Neill (b. 1992, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Emma T. Price (b. 1987, Santa Cruz, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Jessi Reaves (b. 1986, Portland, OR; lives and works in New York, NY), Erica Sarlo (b. 1988, Briarcliff Manor, NY; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Nora Jane Slade (b. 1986, Washington, D.C.; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Sophie Stone (b. 1987, Boston, MA; lives and works in New York, NY), Martine Syms (b. 1988, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Torey Thornton (b. 1990, Macon, GA; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Charlotte Wales (b. 1986, Farnborough, UK; lives and works in London, UK), Eric Wrenn (b. 1985, Southfield, MI; lives and works in New York, NY), and Amy Yao (b. 1977, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Long Beach, CA and New York, NY).

Major support for Eckhaus Latta: Possessed is provided by the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Additional support is provided by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Museum hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm; Friday and Saturday from 10:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Tuesday. Adults: $25. Full-time students and visitors 65 & over: $18. Visitors 18 years & under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 7–10 pm. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.

David Wojnarowicz Retrospective At The Whitney Explores The Enduring Resonance Of An Artist Who Merged The Personal And The Political

This summer, the most complete presentation to date of the work of artist, writer, and activist David Wojnarowicz will be on view in a full-scale retrospective organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night is the first major re-evaluation since 1999 of one of the most fervent and essential voices of his generation.

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David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren, Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz, 1983–84. Acrylic and collaged paper on gelatin silver print, 60 × 40 in. (152.4 × 101.6 cm). Collection of Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, Photograph by Ron Amstutz. (The exhibition is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, and David Kiehl, Curator Emeritus, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.)

Opening at the Whitney on July 13 and running through September 30, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night features more than a hundred works by the artist and is organized by two Whitney curators, David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, and David Kiehl, Curator Emeritus. The exhibition, which will be installed in the Museum’s fifth floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries through September 30, draws upon the scholarly resources of the Fales Library and Special Collections (NYU), the repository of Wojnarowicz’s archive, and is also built on the foundation of the Whitney’s extensive holdings of Wojnarowicz’s work, including thirty works from the Museum’s collection. It will travel to the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, in May 2019, and to Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City, in November 2019.

Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, remarked, “Since his death more than twenty-five years ago, David Wojnarowicz has become an almost mythic figure, haunting, inspiring, and calling to arms subsequent generations through his inseparable artistic and political examples. This retrospective will enable so many to confront for the first time, or anew, the groundbreaking multidisciplinary body of work on which his legacy actually stands.”

Beginning in the late 1970s, David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) created a body of work that spanned photography, painting, music, film, sculpture, writing, performance, and activism. Joining a lineage of iconoclasts, Wojnarowicz (pronounced Voyna-ROW-vich) saw the outsider as his true subject. His mature period began with a series of photographs and collages that honored—and placed himself among—consummate countercultural figures like Arthur Rimbaud, William Burroughs, and Jean Genet. Even as he became well-known in the East Village art scene for his mythological paintings, Wojnarowicz remained committed to writing personal essays. Queer and HIV-positive, Wojnarowicz became an impassioned advocate for people with AIDS at a time when an inconceivable number of friends, lovers, and strangers—disproportionately gay men—were dying from the disease and from government inaction.

After hitchhiking across the U.S. and living for several months in San Francisco, and then in Paris, David Wojnarowicz settled in New York in 1978 and soon after began to exhibit his work in East Village galleries. Largely self-taught, Wojnarowicz came to prominence in New York in the 1980s, a period marked by great creative energy and profound cultural changes. Intersecting movements—graffiti, new and no wave music, conceptual photography, performance, neo-expressionist painting—made New York a laboratory for innovation. Unlike many artists, Wojnarowicz refused a signature style, adopting a wide variety of techniques with an attitude of radical possibility. Distrustful of inherited structures, a feeling amplified by the resurgence of conservative politics, Wojnarowicz varied his repertoire to better infiltrate the culture.

His essay for the catalog accompanying the exhibition Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing (curated by Nan Goldin at Artists Space in 1989–90) came under fire for its vitriolic attack on politicians and leaders who were preventing AIDS treatment and awareness. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) threatened to defund the exhibition, and Wojnarowicz fought against this and for the first amendment rights of artists. Continue reading

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” Opens March 30 at Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery

Exhibition Brings Large-Scale Installations From Famed Desert Gathering to Washington

Cutting-edge artwork created at Burning Man, the annual desert gathering that is one of the most influential events in contemporary art and culture, will be exhibited in the nation’s capital for the first time this spring. “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” will take over the entire Renwick Gallery building, exploring the maker culture, ethos, principles and creative spirit of Burning Man. Several artists will debut new works in the exhibition. In addition to the in-gallery presentation, the Renwick exhibition will expand beyond its walls for the first time through an outdoor extension titled “No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick,” displaying sculptures throughout the surrounding neighborhood.

Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Totem of Confessions, 2015. Photo by Daniel L Hayes.

Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Totem of Confessions, 2015. Photo by Daniel L Hayes.

Burning Man is both a cultural movement and a thriving temporary city of more than 75,000 people that rises out of the dust for a single week each year in late summer in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. During that time, enormous experimental art installations are erected, some of which are then ritually burned to the ground. The desert gathering is a uniquely American hotbed of artistic ingenuity, driving innovation through its philosophies of radical self-expression, community participation, rejection of commodification and reverence for the handmade.

The scale, the communal effort and the technical challenges inherent in creating works for the desert are part of what sets Burning Man apart from other art experiences,” said Stephanie Stebich, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “It is an amazingly creative laboratory where innovators go to play and to push the boundaries of their craft. Displaying the art of Burning Man at the Renwick is the latest example of our focus on new directions in craft and making.”

FoldHaus, Shrumen Lumen, 2016. Photo by Rene Smith.

FoldHaus, Shrumen Lumen, 2016. Photo by Rene Smith.

Nora Atkinson, the museum’s Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, is organizing the exhibition in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, for facilitating and extending the culture that has issued from Burning Man into the wider world and for cultivating its principles reflecting an immediate, non-commercial and participatory culture. The outdoor extension of the exhibition is presented in partnership with Washington, D.C.’s Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, a 43-square-foot neighborhood that stretches from the White House to Dupont Circle. The Burning Man community across the globe was instrumental in suggesting artworks for inclusion in the exhibition.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” opens March 30, 2018. The Renwick is the sole venue for the exhibition, which will close in two phases. The first floor will showcase works by Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Duane Flatmo, Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, Scott Froschauer, Android Jones and Richard Wilks and will close Sept. 16, 2018. The second floor, featuring works by David Best, FoldHaus Art Collective, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), Christopher Schardt and Leo Villareal, will remain on view through Jan. 21, 2019. “No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick,” will be presented in the surrounding neighborhood through December 2018. Continue reading

Philadelphia Museum of Art to Present New Work by Rachel Rose

Philadelphia Museum of Art Presents a New Work by Rachel Rose, On View May 2 through August 18, 2018

Rose is the Inaugural Recipient of The Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media Grant

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a new video installation by Rachel Rose, the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, which has been jointly awarded to the artist by the Museum and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. A project under development for nearly two years, this commission represents the most ambitiously scaled production in the artist’s career to date, leading to the creation of a work that will enter the collections of these two institutions. Titled Wil-o-Wisp, Rose’s work will be on view from May 2 through August 18, 2018, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It will then travel to the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy, where it will open in November.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Timothy Rub, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Seeing this project evolve since the awarding of the commission has been deeply gratifying. It demonstrates just how vital it is for institutions like ours to support emerging talent at precisely the time when such support is needed. This collaboration with our partners in Turin has also provided a wonderful opportunity to expand and strengthen our engagement with contemporary art.”

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

In 2016, the two esteemed arts and culture organizations established the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media as a collaborative initiative to jointly commission and acquire new work by artists from around the world who are active in video, film, performance, and sound. The Commission supports the creation and production of a new work every two years that will be presented at both the Museum and the Fondazione. With its unique focus and its commitment to the joint acquisition of the works produced with the support of this initiative, the commission aims to give unprecedented opportunities to international artists who are exploring new territory in these experimental modes of contemporary art. Rachel Rose is the inaugural recipient.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Rachel Rose has emerged as an important voice in contemporary video, widely recognized for her deft digital editing that aligns disparate visual images and historical references. This new commission has provided her with an opportunity to widen the scope of her interests by investigating narrative devices and story-telling. In Wil-o-Wisp, the artist has directed a live action video in which a woman’s fate becomes inextricably tied to moments of upheaval, suspicion, and persecution in 16th century agrarian England, a time during which the Enclosure Movement led to the privatization of land throughout the country. The video follows various vignettes of Elspeth’s life, cycling between familial moments and tragedy, the practice of magic and her persecution.PMAhorizontal

Rose strings dramatic moments together with temporal shifts, varying rhythms, an emotive score, and carefully constructed visual effects. The work reflects upon the harsh realities of English rural life during a time of a rising culture of suspicion in which women, such as Elspeth, engaging in nontraditional healing practices were often seen as threatening to an increasingly regulated society. The title of the work, Wil-o-Wisp, refers to ghostly lights that could be seen hovering at night over bogs and marshes and that, in folklore, could have the sinister effect of leading people astray. In Rose’s work, the title speaks to the characters whose paths are determined both by willful choices and the power of coincidence.

Directing a cast and crew of about thirty people, Rose shot the work at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that offered a period setting of houses in an English vernacular style and an austere winter landscape. Working with both trained and street-cast actors, as well as Plimoth Plantation guides, Rose both utilized the character of the site and added to it, creating her own imagined world within this setting. From costumes to set decorations, Rose combined period and contemporary materials.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Rose’s video is characterized as much by her intensive approach to post-production as by the attention she gives to the script and on-set staging. After filming the work in Plimoth, she added components such as a narrative sung by an ethereal voice in iambic pentameter. Orchestral and electronical scores serve to gather momentum and produce an emotional effect. Animals and people generate ghostly doubles, and a bright green moss seems to take over the barren landscape. In this work, Rose also continues her use of Medieval marginalia: drawn characters that populated Medieval manuscripts are here collaged to form words announcing certain protagonists and moments within the larger narrative. These elements coalesce with the depicted dramatic events to create a world in which the circumstance of history meets the coincidence and magic of fate.

Installed as a single-channel video and approximately ten minutes in length, Wil-o-Wisp will fill a large gallery that will include an eighteen-foot widescreen. It will be framed within an environment which is currently under development by the artist.

Erica Battle, The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, said: “While Rachel Rose’s carefully woven narrative is set in the past, it speaks to larger themes and concerns that are relevant to our world today. Wil-o-Wisp reflects the inescapable feeling that history is cyclical.”

Rachel Rose (American, born 1986) creates video installations that combine video, sound, and architectural elements. She has had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2017), the Aspen Art Museum (2016), the Museu Serralves in Porto, Lisbon (2016), the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (2015), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015). She was the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award (2015), and her work is collected by prominent institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; LUMA Foundation, Arles; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Ishikawa Foundation; Tate, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Rose received a BA from Yale University, New Haven, as well as an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and an MFA from Columbia University, New York. Continue reading