Thursday, January 26, 2012

VIP 2.0

There's a clock on the website for the VIP Art Fair, counting down the days (and hours, and minutes, and seconds) until the fair begins. Our booth for the fair is almost complete (just a few minor tweaks left), and we're delighted with the way it's turning out, but we were talking in the gallery the other day and I was surprised to learn that I'm not the only one who that clock has a way of making feel anxious. Hurry up! it keeps saying to us.

Despite the lack of physical involvement, it can be a lot of work setting up a virtual booth. How much work really depends on what you're willing to put into it. There is much to be gained, for example, by offering the text about your artists and their work in multiple languages, VIP being a truly global event. And while we have English, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, and even a bit of French, German, Irish, and Italian among those of us in the gallery, you try to translate "fantastic compositions depicting organic, inorganic, synthesizable, theoretically feasible and nano-nonsensical molecules" into all those tongues. (Yes, I know, the obvious rejoinder is "why don't you try writing that in solid English first." :-)

As I've noted before, for our gallery, VIP 1.0 was a really big success. And, as with other art fairs, after you've been through it once, all the logistics are actually easier the second time.

But yes, as was widely reported, there were some challenges when VIP launched its inaugural edition. As Will Brand has noted on Art Fag City, though, the team behind the world's first online art fair has taken some serious steps to ensure smoother sailing this year:
this year the fair will be on Amazon’s EC2 cloud. VIP, though, is going further than that, forming an internal tech team from scratch to re-design every piece of the site. “Every piece of code has been rebuilt internally,” Kennedy told AFC, from the database architecture to the front-end. Thankfully, this includes chat, which last year ranged from moderately dysfunctional to actively debilitating.

The second step is the user experience. VIP has hired a full-time User Experience Director, a sign of their seriousness about improving the interface and a step more websites ought to take.
The thing is, as any art fair organizer can tell you, sh*t happens during these events. (The electricity went out in a 3-block radius just as we were beginning a tour for some very important people at the Moving Image London, for example. In the first NADA Art Fair, the lights went out as well, and we were showing paintings by flash light.) The question to my mind has never been "did everything go perfectly," but "how did the organizers handle it when issues cropped up"?

As we approach the launch of VIP 2.0, and virtually pop in and out of our booth, the experience just gets better and better. We are sincerely impressed with how the VIP team has moved the venture forward. I hope you'll join us online and see for yourself.

Dates: February 3 – 8, 2012
Times: Begins at 8:00 AM EST on February 3
Ends at 11:59 PM EST on February 8
Tickets: Visiting VIP 2.0 is free with site registration and login.

Register for access to VIP 2.0

Labels: vip art fair

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Profile in Cowardice

In the final scene of Joe Orton's classic farce, "What the Butler Saw,"* the six characters stand revealed (figuratively and literally, half or even fully naked, depending on the production), bloodied (at least one character has been shot), and united in their desire for the whole sordid day to please just be over.

We're still in January, but that's how I already view the 2012 GOP presidential primary.

And yet, this is the democratic process...messy, at times even brutal, but always about the potential leaders giving the people a real opportunity to see them up close and personal. If you're gonna give someone the nuclear codes for four years, you really want to be sure they can handle that responsibility.

And more than giving the people a look at the candidates, it's about giving the candidates a chance to meet the people. To listen to their concerns and hopes first hand. To carry back into office, should they win, a clear sense of the will of the people. That's why they're called our "elected representatives." It's their role in our social contract to act on our behalf, to represent our hopes and needs. We empower them to make and enforce the laws that we'll have to live by. So our hope is that they have a good understanding of who we are and what we believe. After that, they ARE our voice in government. And, besides, if they betray our beliefs, we always can vote them out.

That's what NJ Governor Chris Christie, who many in the GOP wish would throw his hat into the presidential race, is pretending he doesn't understand in his promise to veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the Garden State. After initially saying he would consider the bill when it hit his desk, now, even before it's been passed (and that seems certain), he's arguing that this is an issue the people should decide in a state referendum for a change to the state constitution, knowing that would require a lot more time and save him from potentially being the first GOP candidate running for President who had signed same-sex marriage into law. The New York Times has the details on this undemocratic cowardice:
The same-sex marriage bill is a priority for Democrats, led by the Senate president, Stephen M. Sweeney, who has said that his decision not to vote on a similar bill two years ago, when there was a Democratic governor who supported same-sex marriage, was “the biggest mistake” of his political career.

Gay-rights advocates had been hoping that Mr. Christie, who supports civil unions over same-sex marriage, might sign the legislation, or, if he vetoed it, give Republican legislators tacit approval to vote for an override.

Mr. Christie is considered a rising national star in a party still dominated by socially conservative voters who oppose same-sex marriage. But he had been uncharacteristically noncommittal in recent weeks. On Monday, he nominated a gay man to the State Supreme Court, and when asked about the prospects for the marriage bill, said that he would make a decision if and when the bill ever reached his desk.

He made his proposal [for a state referendum instead] on Tuesday after a town-hall-style meeting in Bridgewater, suggesting that the ballot question be presented to voters as a constitutional amendment. “The fact is, we’re discussing huge change, and I believe we need to approach this not only in a thoughtful way, not in a rushed way, but also in a way where we’re able to get the most input that we can from the public,” he said.
But Mr. Christie is fully aware how our democracy works and insists on it, when it suits his own political career:
“When the governor was doing his town hall meetings, I can’t tell you how many times he said, ‘Call your legislator, I want to make these changes;’ ” Mr. Sweeney said in an interview later. “Why would he put this on the ballot when everything that’s been important in this state in the last two years has been handled by the Legislature?”
According to a recent poll released by Quinnipiac University, 52% of New Jersey residents believe same-sex couples should have the right to marry, and only 42% are opposed. That's a clear majority, and their elected leaders are prepared to support their belief.

Christie is also ignoring the decision of the NJ Supreme Court:
In 2006, the State Supreme Court ruled that gay couples had the same rights as heterosexual married couples, but left it up to the Legislature to decide how to ensure those rights.
The Legislature has decided.

Now Christie wants to deny those rights again, for what looks more like his own political expediency than what his constituents clearly want. He's on the wrong side of history. He should be ashamed of his selfishness in this matter. Same-sex families need and deserve the right to marry now.

*Final scene (from the BBC):

Labels: gay politics

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This Is Why You Never Cave to Radicals... only encourages them.

It's difficult to feel sorry for the powers that be at the Smithsonian, now that the same radical right-wing writer Penny Starr (not to be confused with the burlesque performer the LA Weekly calls a "“delightful sexpot”) is on the warpath, again. You may recall she led the call to censor the Hide/Seek exhibition at the Smithsonian in 2010.

In an article titled, ironically, "Tax-Funded Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibition Again Focused on Homosexuality," (ironic, because if anyone seems focused on homosexuality, it's clearly Penny Starr), she again reveals a cultural ignorance that would disqualify her from writing about art and literature for any non-propaganda-oriented publication. has the story:
Penny Starr, the conservative writer and activist who led the (successful) crusade to censor David Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire in My Belly (1987) at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., is back with a new outrage. Starr has taken offense at the museum’s current exhibition, “Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories,” Oct. 14, 2011-Jan. 22, 2012, calling it another “exposition during the Christmas season focused on the homosexual lifestyle.”

In a long story for the right-wing Cybercast News Service last week, Starr reminds readers that during the winter of 2010 the National Portrait Gallery hosted “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” the exhibition of gay-themed art now at the Brooklyn Museum. The show included a four-minute excerpt of Wojnarowicz’s Fire in My Belly, a rapid video collage of Mexican street scenes, newspaper headlines, animals fighting and, for 11 seconds, ants crawling over a plastic crucifix.

In what has been christened the “The Anty Christ” scandal, the Catholic League claimed the video was an “attack on Christians” and lobbied Congress until it threatened to slash the museum’s funding. Smithsonian Institution buildings and operations are federally funded, but both “Hide/Seek” and “Gertrude Stein” were paid for by private donors. Nevertheless, the Smithsonian bowed to pressure and removed the video on Dec. 1, 2010.

Now, Starr has challenged the National Portrait Gallery to explain why two exhibitions in the last 14 months have been focused on “the homosexual lifestyle.”
I'll submit that it reveals much more about Starr than it does NPG that she's counting.

The Smithsonian, this time, seems to be ready to defend the show on its cultural merits:
In a statement, the museum responded, “Gertrude Stein, as our exhibition texts state, was one of America’s most widely known 20th century writers. She experimented radically with language and reached across the arts in a transatlantic community befriending young writers like Ernest Hemingway and artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The fact that Stein was a lesbian did not influence why this exhibition was selected. Within the Portrait Gallery’s mission of interpreting significant and diverse individuals who influenced our national experience, she is an appropriate subject for a special exhibition.”
But the Smithsonian owns this latest tempest in a teapot, in my opinion. Had they told Ms. Starr and the opportunists she marshaled with her initial campaign that something as undemocratic and tyrannical as censorship was not going to take place in the National Portrait Gallery of the United States of America, thank you very much, they most likely wouldn't have encouraged this attention junkie to come back for more of the same.

As Rachel Corbett notes in "For those who missed it in D.C., “Hide/Seek” is currently up -- with the Wojnarowicz work -- at the Brooklyn Museum until Feb. 12, 2012."

Labels: art viewing, censorship

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In Spots We Trust :: Open Thread

The largest exhibition of a single body of work every presented by a commercial gallery begins today. In all 11 of his spaces (literally spanning the globe), dealer Larry Gagosian is exhibiting the so-called Spot paintings of Damien Hirst.

This is not a review. I'm not a big fan of reviews before shows actually open (although this one by Will Brand on AFC does provide three of the most delicious lines I've read in a very long time...see final paragraph). And I have a general policy against reviewing shows in other commercial art galleries.

There is, however, no doubt that even though they may share my dislike for reviews of shows that the critic hasn't seen, Gagosian Gallery has been interested in launching a pre-exhibition dialog about art, commerce, and spectacle through their publicity efforts for this event. In case you haven't already heard, as part of the advertising campaign, they announced a somewhat tongue-in-cheek challenge in conjunction with the group of exhibitions:
Visit all eleven Gagosian Gallery locations during the exhibition The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011 and receive a signed spot print by Damien Hirst, dedicated personally to you.
I presume it's "tongue-in-cheek" not because they won't actually honor the challenge, but because the number of people able to actually complete it are presumably few. Felix Salmon pens a hysterical piece calculating what it would cost to visit all 11 of Gagosian's spaces within the relatively short duration of the exhibitions...and doing so in style, of course.

Over at Artlog, Jarret Moran lists 11 (heh!) Facts about the Spot Paintings, summarizing nicely the general talking points about the event that lead nicely into what I find most interesting about this body of work. Fact #6, in particular, is important to keep in mind here:
6. Hirst is still making spot paintings, despite announcing he would stop in 2008. via
Now in his p/review of the shows, Will Brand said of the paintings, "they’re just some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop." That notion got stuck in my brain last week and I've been trying to pry it loose ever since. "Some wierd meme...."

It was helped loose somewhat by another post Will Brand subsequently wrote titled "Art is Not Gold," in which he very smartly explores the idea that, despite all the talk lately of art being a "safer" place to put one's money, "for the potential investor, art and gold simply don’t have a lot of financial characteristics in common."

What does make sense is the idea put forward by Bruno Frey in his 2000 book Arts & Economics: Analysis & Cultural Policy (and before that in a 1995 research paper) that art is an awful lot like real estate: pricey, relatively illiquid, highly differentiated, intrinsically useful, and frequently purchased by Russian oligarchs. There are some key differences, of course – in real estate, for instance, there’s no chance of arbitrage, or picking up an undervalued house in Cologne and reselling it in New York – but I’d forward that art and real estate are a lot less different than art and stocks or art and gold. If you can find a housing price index for a particularly pricey area – like, say, the Hamptons – you’d probably even be dealing with the same buyers and sellers (a boon for comparing markets).

So can we make that our new cliché, please? It may take a few more minutes, as a writer, to look up a housing price index instead of a stock market index, but we’d end up a whole lot closer to the truth.

I find this line of thinking fascinating, and I'm going to give it more thought, but it very nearly lost me entirely by insisting art is "intrinsically useful."
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.

--Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

OK, so stick with me while I try to stitch this together into some semblance of a coherent argument. And I'll admit up front that 1) I am not an economist (I'm approaching this from a purely for-entertainment-only point of view), and 2) I reserve the right to be persuaded that I'm talking through my hat.

Still, it was the fact that Jarret highlighted ("Hirst is still making spot paintings, despite announcing he would stop in 2008.") that got me to wondering before I read Will's piece whether aside from their drug references and irresistible prettiness, the spot paintings weren't also something much more clever: a new, private international currency.

currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply.
Or they're supposed to. The idea of bank notes, as I understand it, originally was that they were promises to produce on demand the amount of some precious metal like gold or silver that they represented (try that in your bank today). That meant that a government could/should only print as much in coins and banknotes as they had in precious metals in their treasury (in case everyone all at once demanded the metals in exchange for the currency they held).

This representation of a nation's actual wealth has several obvious advantages: coins and paper are much easier to carry around and trade than the heavy metals; the use of currency permits loaning money much easier, and enables the sale of stock in jointly owned companies, among others. Currency also provides an easily verifiable indication of value. The number of zeros you see at the end of the big number on a banknote, immediately communicates its worth.

Enter the spot paintings.

Valued according to their scale and/or the number of spots they contain, they are immediately recognizable as a representations of their owner's wealth (which reminds me of what I consider the quote of the year):

“It is easier to have ten Damien Hirsts than to have ten yachts… besides, your yacht becomes more interesting with a Damien Hirst on it,” says the Mexico-based collector César Cervantes.

Furthermore, much the same way a government will sometimes simply print more money in response to economic hardship, the initial impact of the Great Recession on the art market and on Damien Hirst's work in particular, may explain item #6 in Jarret's list of facts mentioned above.

Consider this an open thread on spots, currency, art and their interconnectedness. Feel free to elaborate on or obliterate my comparison.

UPDATE: And then there's Hennessy...

"Yes, Internet, he just said that money is his medium."

Labels: art market,, open thread

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Has Mighty Casey Struck Out, or Has the Crowd Simply Missed the Home Run Cause They Were Checking Their iPhones?

Freude, schoener Goetterfunken...blah, blah, blah...
It's a paradox: how packed it seems to always be at MoMA, despite its $25 entry fee and the conventional wisdom that no one really cares about visual art any more. Usually, resentful New York artsies will explain it as having nothing to do with what's on the walls; MoMA has become a tourist attraction to be checked off on one's list as you exit their gift shop. If only they would just move on to Abercrombie & Fitch, like you know they want to, perhaps I could actually see the exhibition. The fact that easily half the conversations one hears in MoMA are in languages other than English supports the tourist explanation, and perhaps that's all it is. I know one finds the same sort of crowd at the Louvre and other museums with worldwide reputations. Still, it remains New York's functioning temple of the avant-garde and crowded or not, we New Yorkers still want to /have to go there. (Yes, yes, I know, you can buy a membership and go when it's not as crowded...but those events are not always in sync with my schedule, so let me bitch, will ya?). And perhaps it's this constant contamination of the rarefied air in this sacred place that causes it, but I find myself in agreement with Charlie Finch's conclusion in a report on a recent visit there. From
MoMA's rigid Eurocentric habits, where the dry candy of the mind is everything and what dazzles the eye is nothing, ...[T]here is no joy in art, only a dull beating thud inside the head
And so I thought about that for a there no joy in art any more? People do seem to have mostly glazed looks on their faces after touring New York museums or gallery hopping. Or is it simply that there's soooooo much art to take in, and in the museums (and sometimes the galleries) so many people elbowing you out of their way, that any joy found is quickly replaced by annoyance. One of the reviews for our current exhibition was NOT what you'd call a love letter (although the show has gotten tons of good press overall). This one reviewer, though, didn't like the show, and that's ok, but this part of her response gave me pause:
Filling an entire wall of the gallery, these 34 letters are a hilarious read, yet after trying to elbow my way through the opening crowds to read the text, I questioned the point of this action. [emphasis mine]
I couldn't help but wonder if the reviewer's response to the work might not have been different had she not had to elbow her way through to read the text. Just as I can't help but wonder if my last visit to MoMA wouldn't have left a different taste in my mouth if it hadn't been such a chaotic circus. See, the thing is, I do, almost constantly, find joy in the art I'm surrounded by. The works we have up in the gallery, the works we have up in our home. These objects will often completely delight me. But then, I have plenty of time alone with them. And they have plenty of time to catch me off guard, like a thump on the head meant to say, "Hey! Slow down, a**hole. This is your life you're rushing through."

UPDATE: On the same topic, consider this.

Labels: art museums, art viewing

Monday, January 09, 2012

Lost in Bad Translation (or, Visual Art as Shibboleth)

In some European country I visited once, there was a sign outside a barber shop, clearly aimed at English-speaking tourists, that read "Haircuts While You Wait."

Even though I can't remember which country it was, I do recall my imagined narrative of the author of that sign, rather pleased with him/herself, at having found such a sophisticatedly colloquial way of communicating that walk-ins were welcome. My fellow travelers and I couldn't stop giggling, though, as we explored the more literal alternatives to having one's hair cut while you wait...quite a convenience for wig wearers, no doubt, but I would imagine it being a bit of a complicated experience for anyone else.

Traduttore, tradittore, the Italians say ("translator, traitor"), but sometimes I think that nationalistic admonishment rather misses the mark. Indeed, the ultimate reader of imprecise translations generally suffers far more than the communicators or devotees of some cherished original.

Take for example a recent spambot comment I rejected from a thread that had gone cold many months ago. The comment's real purpose is to lead the readers here to a website for an escort service in India (yes, I realize several of you would much rather indulge in that offering that this diatribe, but you'll have to find it yourself). You'll find similar comments littered across the blogosphere, with generic enough phrasings to seem plausibly sincere contributions to the dialog, but they will always give themselves away via their links to some commercial, and usually risque, website.

I've become a bit of a fan of these efforts, watching as they evolve into increasingly credible comments (I have been fooled a few times), and especially delighting in the variations as they enter the stream from different parts of the world (this is the first that I know of from India, for example). What they reveal about how English is translated or spoken in their country of origins often provides a chuckle or two, but the constantly shifting approaches to fooling the moderator is always interesting.

It was the almost sophisticated English in this comment that tickled me initially:
I am very glad with your blog. It’s really very interesting post full of valuable information very well written by u. The key part of this post is its descriptive way to define anything. I liked it with my heart. This post is a excellent example of such kind of thread.
Beyond the charmingly bad English, though, this one captured my attention for its sublimely ridiculous paradox in which the author attempts to convince the thread's moderator he/she's just another well-versed blogger via the (singular) use of the txty abbreviation "u" while attempting to come off as learned enough to put together the academic sounding (although ultimately gibberishy) third sentence.

Where all this comes back round to art is in one of the central issues of the increasingly global art market and cross-cultural misinterpretations. There are those who feel the market will never really become smartly global because not enough people will ever truly comprehend the subtleties of great art from another culture.

There are assumptions, convictions, and unspoken "truths" that are really only
universal to a subset of the species. Visual art carries these along for the ride whether it means to or not. Indeed, I would submit there are shibboleths we are barely conscious of in most visual art. Something as simple as a color (like red, for example) carries emotional and/or political connotations that vary per postal code. To use some simpler examples, consider: "Is there a secret socialist agenda behind that artist's use of a red background, or is the artist expressing joy (red is generally associated with good luck or a long life in Asia)?" "Is that black cat in the corner of that painting a good omen or a bad omen?" Depends on where you grew up.

Grasping these cultural connotations/associations separates the artist's intended audience from his/her potential wider audience, often despite him/herself. That, in turn, must impact appreciation on some level, and that would eventually have to impact desire for the artwork in other parts of the world.

There are of course artists with a global vision, who will create work intentionally with the whole world as their audience. But even with them, as with our India escort service commenter, there generally are giveaway signs that they're not as sincere as they're pretending to be.

While on the subject of unintentionally hilarious mistranslations, don't miss this: "I Am A Woman, Not A Test Mouse"

Labels: art appreciation, art viewing

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Opening Tonight : "Corporations Are People Too" @ Winkleman Gallery, 6-8 PM

Note: the next show in our gallery may seem a contradiction to the argument I made just a bit ago that "Art is not the evening news." The show is titled "Corporations Are People Too," and it looks at the love-hate relationship we as a nation have with those powerful organizations. The press release contextualizes the show as occurring at the same time protesters around the world are demanding corporations have less influence over democratically elected governments, but the exhibition is taking a much wider look at how we 1) do recognize distinct personalities of corporations, 2) do appreciate (perhaps too much) the things they create that make our lives easier, 3) [many people] do spend a great deal of their lives working (and laughing and finding fulfillment and possibly even love) in corporations, and 4) do seem to change our opinion about how "evil" corporations are more in response to the general economic situation than we do in response to their general practices.

In other words, the show is about how complex the relationship is between corporations and the average person. Much of the work well predates the current recession as well. So even though I borrowed a line from Romney for the title, it's not truly a show about current events and certainly not a exhibition featuring art made in response to Occupy Wall Street.

Anyway, that's enough from me...I'll shut up now and let the show speak for itself. It opens tomorrow. I hope you can stop by:

Corporations Are People Too
A group exhibition featuring work by Berenice Abbott, Ian Davis, Chris Dorland, Kota Ezawa, Louis Faurer, Yevgeniy Fiks, Jacqueline Hassink, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange and Phillip Toledano

January 4 - February 4, 2012
Opens January 4 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present Corporations Are People Too, a group exhibition of artists whose work has touched on corporate culture and our love-hate relationship to these powerful organizations. In a time where protesters across the country, and the world, are objecting to the influence corporations have over democratically elected governments and one leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President, Mitt Romney, was roundly criticized for claiming during a campaign stop that “Corporations are people too,” a bright spotlight is being shined on the complicated role they play in contemporary life.

The exhibition begins with a selection of vintage photographs by Berenice Abbott, Louis Faurer, Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange, showing the arc of attitudes in America about the relationship between huge companies and the average person. From Depression-era images of child laborers and migrant workers up through post-WWII images of happy shiny Americans enjoying all the conveniences that modernized manufacturing brought them in their new age of posterity, these black-and-white photos set the stage for a relationship that continues to ebb and flow with the changing economics of the nation.

The exhibition continues with works by contemporary artists that flesh out the complexity of corporate culture as it has evolved to influence, if not define, many of our political and cultural ideologies. A 2005 installation by Yevgeniy Fiks offers a broader look at how we have come to recognize corporations’ individual identities. Fiks sent 100 US corporations a copy of Lenin’s book Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism as a gift for their library, asking only that they acknowledge receipt. The 34 letters he received, some accepting the gift, others returning it, provide a series of fascinating and, in turns, hysterical portraits of the corporate personalities.

Kota Ezawa’s series of IKEA lightbox works (2008), in which he redraws the pages from the international home furnishing store’s catalog, stem from his mixed feelings about our need for furniture chosen not as an object to be kept or cherished but rather as an inexpensive solution to a living problem. Within these paired-down renderings, the catalog pages lose their function as advertisements and their staged domestic interiors become instead theater stages for the drama of contemporary life. In Ian Davis’ small paintings (2011), scores of men in black suits populate landscapes or auditoriums devoid of any clear hierarchy or leaders. In unison they raise their hands as if making a pledge or collaborate to mug other suited men, suggesting armies of blindly obedient Yes Men, answering to a particular culture more so than an obvious power figure.

In Jacqueline Hassink’s “The Table of Power” series (1993-1995), photographs of uninhabited boardrooms of well-known corporations are completely absent the executives who usually meet there, but still communicate an intimiating degree of order and control. One of the images, totally black, reflects the refusal of Shell Oil to let their excutive boardroom be photographed. People are also absent in the photographs from Phillip Toledano’s “Bankrupt” series (2001-2003), but traces of their having been there remain in the emptied offices of corporations that went out of business. Toledano has described these abandoned objects as “signs of life, interrupted,” and they speak to how the corporate experience is a big part of who they are for many people.

The exhibition concludes with an installation by Chris Dorland incorporating large- and small-scale paintings as well as video. The way that many corporations market their (often banal) products to the public by associating our collective ideals and hopes with their corporate brands is one of the themes connecting Dorland’s various series. From his well-known toxic-colored landscapes insinuating the failure of Modernist architecture to realize its promise of a utopian future, to his newer series of decontextualized, muted logotypes and mixed media paintings of sexy, happy people so interchangeable we recognize them as part of an advertising language even without any hint of their ad’s original product, to a new video titled “Restoration Hardware”, these works, seen in dialogue with one another, bring full circle his exploration of the cynical association of progressive values with consumption and desire. Dorland’s work deals head on with how, as he has said, “'Progress' gets aestheticised and then ultimately instrumentalized by Capitalism.”

For more information, please contact Edward Winkleman at 212.643.3152 or

Labels: gallery exhibitions