Friday, April 03, 2009

Jennifer Dalton @ Winkleman Gallery, April 3 - May 9, 2009

PLEASE NOTE: The opening reception for this exhibition is APRIL 10 (NEXT FRIDAY). Not tonight. Despite the show being open to the public starting today. There will be another announcement next week explaining this further.


Jennifer Dalton
The Reappraisal

April 3 – May 9, 2009
Opening: Friday, April 10, 6-8 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11-6 PM

Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present “The Reappraisal,” our fourth solo exhibition by New York artist Jennifer Dalton. In 1999 Dalton presented her project “The Appraisal” at Chelsea’s Steffany Martz Gallery. At that time, Dalton was 31 years old and living a typical graduate student lifestyle, having been one until just the previous year. Presented in the project space of the gallery, this was her first solo exhibition in New York.

Inspired by her "day job" at Christie's auction house where she cataloged the desirable possessions of its clients, in "The Appraisal" Dalton photographed, described and self-appraised every item in the small apartment she shared with her then-boyfriend, including the furniture she had scavenged from the street, the paintings and sculptures she had made in her living room/art studio, and the artworks she had acquired through trades with her artist friends. She then hired Christie's to conduct an official appraisal of her "estate" and compared her appraisal with their professional version to humbling effect. Finally, as part of the project, she sold a cross-section of her belongings on the auction website eBay, in an attempt to find the true value of each object.

Ten years later the boyfriend is a husband and Dalton qualifies as a homeowner, a mom, and a not-entirely-reluctant member of the bourgeois class. How does her lifestyle stack up against 2009's recently acquired values of austerity, anti-materialism and green living? Has she become a yuppie? Viewers of the exhibition can decide for themselves, appraising her economic footprint* and the accouterments of her trajectory into middle age.

In "The Reappraisal," everything in the house Dalton shares with her husband and four-year-old son is for sale, provided would-be collectors are willing to pay the price arrived at through her family's level of attachment to a particular object. Every household item—from graduate student paintings to the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink to the planter in the back yard—has been photographed and appraised by both her and, again, Christie’s auction house. Presented in simple frames on rows of industrial shelving, like volumes in a library, each photograph and description has been color-coded by object type and placed in order by Dalton’s level of attachment to it, and thus by what she calls "Your Price."

Each object actually has three values attached to it: What Dalton thinks the item might be worth to other people; what Christie's thinks the item is worth based on their expertise; and "Your Price," the price at which it can be purchased through the exhibition. "Your Price" ranges from $500,000 on the high end for irreplaceable tchotchkes passed down through her family to minus $5, meaning Dalton will give you $5 if you come to her house and take it away. More than a follow-up to the project Dalton first did 10 years ago, "The Reappraisal" is a meditation on materialism, growing up, and the extent to which we can properly judge ourselves and each other by the contents of our bookshelves, refrigerators and medicine cabinets.


Jennifer Dalton received her BFA from UCLA and her M.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in New York. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, including in: "Wall Rockets: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha," curated by Lisa Dennison, Flag Art Foundation, NYC; "Attention to Detail," curated by Chuck Close, Flag Art Foundation, NYC; "Made in America," curated by Janet Phelps, Peel Gallery, Houston, TX; "Air Kissing: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art About the Art World," curated by Sasha Archibald, Arcadia University Art Gallery, Glenside, PA; and "The Cult of Personality: Portraits of Mass Culture," Carriage Trade, NYC and Galerie Erna Hécey, Brussels, Belgium. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art Review, Art + Auction, ArtNews, and Art in America, among other publications.

Winkleman Gallery
637 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
T: 212.643.3152
F: 212.643.2040



Anonymous Beth said...

In the late-1990s I took a graduate seminar on “museums and institutional critique” that focused on artistic and curatorial practices in the 1980s and 90s, and included a series of guest lectures by artists, curators, and the like. It became a bit of a joke that during each class there’d come a point in the conversation where we’d be talking about how an artwork, exhibition, or program was put together, and I’d always raise my hand and ask how it was funded. (Foreshadowing my future career in fundraising, perhaps?)

4/03/2009 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So 41 is middle-aged. Great.

4/03/2009 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Greg said...

Dalton is on my list of favorites. "Contemporary Art According to Jen" is what won me over a few years back...

4/03/2009 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

This is not about whining who did what first, but more about bringing to attention an artist that might interest your artist.

Actually, I missed this show, because I wasn't in Montreal
that month, but I've heard a lot about Martin Dufrasne who in 2000
brought everything he ever owned into a gallery (Skol), where he would exchange any item with a similar of equal value, which would have to be debated between him and the client. His was missing the Dalton angle of criticizing the artworld, but there was a similar aim at projecting notions of value.

I sometimes wonder about the brittish artist who's name I forgot who simply burned all his personal values. If that gesture enhanced his career in any way, after the media brouhaha.


4/03/2009 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

I think Jennifer is one of my favorite artists you work with. She’s at the forefront of (and I hate to use academic “buzz words”) a type of “institutional critique” that uses humor and satire to challenges much of the received wisdom we in the art world are infected with.
But Ed, why the week lag between opening the doors for the show and the opening reception?

4/03/2009 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

"His was missing the Dalton angle..."

cedric, the devil is in the details eh?

4/03/2009 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Frank Nachtman said...

So what's your take on John Freyer's book: All My Life For Sale?

4/03/2009 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

So what's your take on John Freyer's book

I haven't read it, but as it published in 2002 and the first part of Jen's project was exhibited in 1999, I suspect we're seeing either a zeitgeist at work or a bit of what Wilde called the "sincerest form of flattery."

4/03/2009 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric c said...

++cedric, the devil is in the ++details eh?

I think they are different works.
In Dufrasne's show, the products "exchanged" were replaced with the acquired (and still available for exchange until the end of the exhibit), so physically, you had an ever-changing installation.

In Canada, we don't have a market,
and this work was in an art centre. The focus was on Nicolas Bourriaud socio-aesthetics, while Dalton is more about how Yoko Ono painted that apple in gold.

As far as who's being first,
well, Bourriaud would not have written a book in 1998 if there wasn't already similar artists?
I'm more interested in what each artist are doing precisely.

Cedric Casp

4/03/2009 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I'm more interested in what each artist are doing precisely.

That's a good place to start.

I haven't seen the exhibition yet so I am disinclined to form a concrete opinion based upon what I've heard so far. However, it appears that much of the confusion is caused by fixating on the fact that Dalton inventoried all her possessions and documented them. In the real world this is not an unheard of event, I have seen it occur in a non art context.

What makes Daltons piece interesting is not her compulsive inventorying and documentation of all her possessions. What is interesting, is her attempt to reveal the methods used to establish a value on them. How do we determine what something is worth? Yes there is Ebay, for what that's worth.

But in the art world, valuation and price discovery are often mysterious processes which most people have no real understanding of. Dalton, creates an understandable everyday metaphor for this process which potentially will make the viewer aware of the complex set of factors used in determining "value", not just art world auction house values, or the Ebay selling price, but the"sentimental" value we place on things which bears no relationship to the objects resale or 'scrap' value.

So, just making a list and checking it twice, isn't what makes Daltons piece interesting, it's just the starting point.

Further, whether or not Dalton is working in a major art and financial center or someplace else is a moot point. Her conceptual positions are independent of her location. Certainly her location and personal circumstance has made executing the artwork appear potentially easier but I would not necessarily assume this is the case.

The issue of who does "something first" is an interesting one. We live in a world of finite ideas, mass media and a growing population. Ideas are fungible, spawned in the zeitgeist as a never ending stream. The culture venerates some and lets others die. So frequently who "was first" is less important than who made the idea visible enough to stick to the fabric of history.

Like I said, the devil is in the details.

4/04/2009 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

If it's not compared to Christie's, it's not interesting. Isn't it what Dalton is saying?

I'm not sure that a work being about money tags feedbacking values
of the everyday with the art market makes it "more" interesting but it definitely makes it "more" New Yorkish (or suited for a spectator attracted by finances

Also, Dalton has created a photo installation, which is a work that remains, entirely sellable, and the question of the value of that in itself doesn't seem to be brought up (? not sure). Or is it? Or is she is circling around
her subject??

I think Dufrasne has a stick in history that is canadian. He probably already had museum presence? You have these layers in art: canada, new york, france, nicaragua. A lot of people in between don't know each other.

Cedric Casp

4/04/2009 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

If it's not compared to Christie's, it's not interesting. Isn't it what Dalton is saying?

Not quite. Christie's provides one data point, one which has obvious art world references therefore extending the the inferences of how one might interpret the information in front of us. Again, I suggest you are fixating, this time it's on "Christie's" which can be a metaphor for an institutionalized process of trying to establish "value" In some other venue, this could be an estate auctioneer, or...

I can't answer your question about the issues surrounding the selling of the artwork, I haven't seen it yet and know just what was presented here. I would suggest that you are responding too quickly without carefully reading the information presented here and that the question seems argumentative and an indication that you don't understand what Dalton is attempting to present at all. There can be a number of reasons for this.

The discussion here is not about Dufrasne and his achievements. I am sure that over time the culture will sort this all out.

4/04/2009 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

+++you don't understand what +++Dalton is attempting to present at all

I haven't seen it, but if I would describe you a room full of teddybears and with photographs of teddybear lovers (Ydessa Hendeles), I would estimate you could have a good idea of what that's like without seeing it in person (just expect: museum size).

What I understand from Dalton's work is that she is highly critical of the art market and has done arguably successful works in that matter. What I'm trying to demonstrate here is how artists make different works out of a similar stream of consciousness because of the art scene in which they evolve. It's a good question to ask if the Christie's rates are essential to this work or what the work would mean without them. To me, because it's present, it seems to directly point at the art market (a comparison with estate value would have been interesting), and other works by Dalton inform this (my) reading. Yet it is about other things, for example an investigation of privacy, an exhaustive photographic portrait of one's life, an inter-relational piece (people I assume must meet her). But the investigation seems so much about the recording of the "numbers", as blunt as doing your yearly taxes. It doesn't seem to be about "a passage" from one state of living to another. It's almost an indication of recession, because it's like a sophisticated garage sale. In the end, what Dalton receives from participant is money, and figures of worth put in numbers. That's the work. No?

Cedric Casp

4/04/2009 05:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

Correction: the work is the catalog itself, because the actual business exchanges seem extraneous to the work (back to life). The work is what's within the gallery: a deluxe artist-made edition of some kind (the values are on the photographs). Inter-relational arts are probably not the right angle for it. My mistake.

Cedric Casp

4/04/2009 08:38:00 PM  

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