Curatorial Project 6 - "An Architect's Dream"
"An Architect's Dream"
curated by Todd Levin
Curator's Office, Washington D.C.
26 May - 30 June 2012
Artwork by: Joseph CORNELL, Rashid JOHNSON, Pipilotti RIST, Haim STEINBACH
All photos credited to: Jason Horowitz
Joseph Cornell's "Space Object (Celestial Navigation)" (1958) is the cornerstone for the exhibition, as his box constructions opened doors for subsequent generations of artists to explore combination and display of objects, whether from natural or manufactured sources. A self-taught artist who limited his physical travels to New York City and Long Island, Cornell instinctively combined objects and images in his boxes that allowed his imagination to transcend time and space. One of the most inventive 20th century American artists, his work influenced such pop artists as Rauschenberg and Warhol as well as contemporary installation artists.
Young African-American artist Rashid Johnson explores nuanced transformations of black history and culture between his own family's generations. Known for a diversity of approaches to sculpture, photography, and sound, Johnson often uses the shelf format because, he has publicly stated, "...I am interested in something to put something on..." "Run, Archie, Run" is a cracked mirror tiled shelf work featuring his trademark black wax, an oyster shell filled with shea butter, two artist-designed books entitled 'Run,' and a record album of avant-garde jazz legend and controversial playwright Archie Shepp. This work continues his interest in the intellectuals and creative provocateurs of African American history.
Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist is known for her lush immersive video works and multimedia installations that are unabashedly and joyfully feminist. When she scales her work down to a more domestic physical size, Rist believes that the objects that surround us contain memories and have stories to tell. The small, silent video installation "Sparking Of The Domesticated Synapses" (2010) consists of shelf with a vase of flowers, a watering can and diverse household items. Projected onto one side of the vase, a small ethereal video appears showing a woman's hands destroying and arranging flowers, and sensuously washing vases. This installation was originally shown in a museum that had once been a private villa with many servants, whose 'helping hands' were an essential part of the villa's hidden life.
Haim Steinbach blazed a path in the early 1980's with his signature pristine shelves featuring a precise arrays of found and/or purchased objects. The calculated theatricality of presentation upon his minimalist machined shelves elevated everyday consumer items to the status of art objects. Context and relationship through form and function became a hallmark of his work. In "juicy salif kong 1A" (2008), Steinbach continues this lifelong exploration with elegance and wit, with a Philippe Stark designed lemon juicer and a doggie chew toy sharing the stage.
- Andrea Pollan, May 2012