Young Curators, New Ideas V presented by Detroit Art Week at Trumbull & Porter
Detroit Art Week, happening on July 16 – 21, 2019, is an annual self-guided tour and citywide celebration of contemporary art in Detroit, which has announced the independent curators participating in Young Curators, New Ideas V (YCNI V) will take place from Wednesday, July 17 to Sunday, July 21, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Trumbull & Porter Hotel Detroit. [ABOVE, Featured Image]: Katarzyna Perlak, Happily Ever After, 2019, Video still. Courtesy of the artist
Participating curators include Isabella Achenbach, Marian Casey, Luna Goldberg, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Rosie Motley, Gina Mudge, Vera Petukhova, Sophie Olympia Riese, Kasia Sobucka, Nadia Tahoun, Darryl DeAngelo Terrelland Yulia Topchiy.
YCNI V shines a light on the cultural, artistic, social and political transformations initiated by the creative and curatorial practices by those identifying as, woman, Black, POC, LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming. With a sense of urgency and relevancy, each multifaceted micro-exhibition will transform a 256 square-foot hotel room into an immersive installation, fostering provocative discussions on the most pressing issues of our time.Identity, the body and the environment are key components in many of the works, all of which explore varying socio-personal themes, including colonialism, consumerism, sexism, gender, gentrification, gun violence, politics and relationships.
By examining societal traditions and the impact of the digital world and social media, these exhibitions question and subvert our social norms. They also shed light on how the erasure and reconstruction of the past has shaped our present and is molding our future. Individual experience and one’s unique orientation to cultural and ideological developments have the power to transform perspectives— for better and for worse. Space is also a factor; the exhibition centers viewpoints of how we create, hold on to and enforce our boundaries— both internally and in the physical world. From painting, performance and sculpture to multimedia, experiential/ephemeral and site-specific installations, artists and curators from multicultural backgrounds share their expansive, divergent insights of our current world.
Participating artists include Fafnir Adamites, Jess Bass, Rachelle Dang, Grey Ellis, Harry Gould Harvey IV, David Heo, Leena Joshi, Lauren Kalman, Amy Khoshbin, Kameron Neal, Dana Nechmad, Derrick Woods Morrow, Katarzyna Perlak, Irit Rosenberg, Wilton Tejeda and Sebastián Villamil.Support for Young Curators, New Ideas V comes from Stephanie Baptist, Heather Bhandari, Melannie Chard, Simone de Sousa, Kyle DeWoody, Eric Gleason, Micaela Martegani, Victor Martin-Malburet, Monique Meloche, Melissa Netecke, Folake Ologunja, Michael Pozner, Megha Ralapati, Rebecca Ross, Carole Server, Franklin Sirmans, Sue Stoffel, Frank Tribble, Elizabeth Tucker, Tiana Webb Evans and Hank Willis Thomas.
Derrick Woods-Morrow, Box of 64, 2018, Sculpture & performance, 8 x 2 1/4 in. H x 4 in. W., Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Photo: Nathan Keay
All-Inclusive: Fantasy Suiteis a site-specific installation by Bogotá-based artist Sebastián Villamil that transforms a once-ordinary Trumbull & Porter hotel room into a color-blasted, Disney-inspired, fantasy-filled suite. It is playful, it is twisted. Villamil’s installation will center around his expansive collection of Disney and Marvel plastic action figures, none of which look like your typical blue-eyed blonde-haired Sleeping Beauty or chiseled Thor. Instead, Villamil scours the pirated goods of Bogotá’s street vendors for iconic toys with physical “defects” in their representation: Cinderella is thick with wide hips, Tiana is white with blonde hair, Batman is squat with no bone structure. In their physicality, the toys address the mass production of hegemonic ideology, enabled by the multi-billion dollar consumer market of Disney, and its promotion of strictly heteronormative Western beauty, gender and sexuality standards. The characters are representatives of American ideals—mass-produced and globally traded, from factory to child. With additional examination on authenticity, origin, appropriation and commodification, All-Inclusive: Fantasy Suite upends the Trumbull & Porter hotel room with custom-made sheets, towels, rugs, key cards, bath products, et al., each printed and uniquely designed with images of Villamil’s “misfit” toys.
How do we relate to the precarity, comfort and joy of queer spaces created just for ourselves? What is our role in remembering and recording those spaces once they’re gone?
Throughout the 1990s, self-taught artist Scott Swoveland painted over 500 unrepentantly queer murals for Houston bar Mary’s. Contextualized by Swoveland’s story and broader questions of queer place, legacy and cycles of regeneration, erasure and violence, Kameron Neal, in HotHouse, will present a site-specific video installation exploring the ways in which we encode our history and use technology to craft compelling performances of self. Like Swoveland, his work displays a humor, color and energy, even while exploring mortality and inherited community trauma. Neal constructs kinetic environments of stop-action photography, glitch, live video and bodily fluids that serve as arenas for him to learn how to touch and be touched.
The project draws inspiration and context from one queer history in Houston, but understands it as one of many valuable stories across the U.S, at risk of loss. As we acknowledge Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, we seek new methods of commemorating and archiving regional instances of queer resistance that can provide fresh contexts for current LGBTQ artists and narratives.
In an era of seductive aesthetics, commodity feminism and fake news, Women, Womyn, Womxn examines what it means to build an intersectional political movement and inclusive spaces for womxn. With the rise of American conservatism since the 2016 elections, institutions such as Planned Parenthood have been subject to slander and public attacks. The Hillary Clinton “I’m with Her” campaign brought with it a wave of products inscribed with popular slogans such as “The Future is Female” and “Nasty Woman.” In their use of feminist catchphrases and ‘empowering’ visuals, these products utilized the commercial power of aesthetics and language to passively engage millennials. By purchasing these commodities, people were released from the responsibility of actually participating in civic engagement and social change.
Featuring interactive installations and performative works by Dana Nechmad and David Heo, Women, Womyn, Womxn questions preconceptions of feminism, recontextualizing its visual language to bring awareness to the emptiness of commodified activism. Centered around sites commonly associated with the female body – the bath and the bed – the exhibition aims to examine the potential of feminism and the aesthetics of femininity by transforming domestic aspects of the Trumbull & Porter hotel room.
Sebastián Villamil, Cinderella #9, 2019, Batman #4, 2018, Digital print, Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist
Amanda McDonald Crowley
At Tinyscissors Tattoo Parlor Detroit, Iranian-American artist and politician Amy Khoshbin offers bespoke line drawing tattoos of non-violent imagery. Amy engages parlor visitors in conversations about their experience of gun violence in America, and the ways we can heal together moving forward, literally and figuratively, while they acquire a tattoo.
Tinyscissors Tattoo Parlor Detroit is an intimate setting in which to discuss and envision how we can shift culture towards compassion. Amy’s tattoos serve as a permanent reminder of the conversation in an operational tattoo pop-up shop where she is working with the body as the canvas for this participatory artwork.
Nearly 40,000 people died from gun violence in 2018, yet imagery of guns, weapons and violent acts pervade our media, sociocultural psyche, our bodies and walls of our tattoo parlors. How can we shift our culture towards an iconography of non-violence? Amy asks: what is the opposite of a weapon? Resulting drawings, prints and sculptures form the basis of tattoo designs.
We will serve tea and commission local candy-makers to realize sweets using Amy’s tattoo designs. Like any good tattoo parlor, we will also offer merchandise and custom limited-edition prints of flash pages of tattoo designs.
To touch the sky with roses brings together new sculpture and drawing by Rachelle Dang and Harry Gould Harvey IV. Dang and Harvey manipulate primary materials such as wood, clay, wire, graphite, aluminum and cement to trace complex and often invisible histories – both personal and collective – and the ecological devastation that accompanies anthropic activity. Dang’s installation considers the implications of colonial legacy. Ceramic Breadfruits, based on Tahitian samplings exploited by European explorers in the late 18th century, are cast in varying states of decay. The fluctuating fruits adopt anthropomorphic qualities – their puckered surfaces recalling dimpled or goose-bumped skin – and suggest the corresponding effects of violence on ecosystems and bodies. Harvey’s sculptures are hand-carved from foraged driftwood and other repurposed materials sourced in and around Rhode Island. Guillotines, panopticons, fanatic rhetorics and severed heads allude to transient systems of surveillance, coercion and control. Harvey’s nonhierarchical approach to media and insistence on utilizing found and recycled materials is motivated by a spiritual fidelity to geo-locality and environment. Rejecting institutionalized modes of production, Harvey lifts elements of modernism with folk-tradition to engage the complexity of human motivation and behavior throughout history.
Transitional, the exhibition title, is a commonly used term to describe Boston, Massachusetts. As a Mecca for institutions of higher education, we have become a temporary home for many, but consequently, a permanent home for few.
This exhibition invites the viewer to understand this housing crisis through the eyes of Wilton Tejeda: long term Boston resident, painter, educator and mover. The main tool of his trade? A moving dolly – the most concrete symbol of transition. This imagery highlights the emotional state of being “in between” – a phenomenon Wilton confronts regularly. A Latino artist committed to diversity in art education – overcome with the overwhelming whiteness of his institution. Nostalgic for the way his home used to be, yet believing that a urban metamorphosis can be positive.
A positive metamorphosis? One would hope that our city’s accessibility to such an abundance of technology would allow us to find environmentally and economically sustainable solutions. After all, we are in fact “the COMMONWEALTH of Massachusetts” – one of only four states categorized as such in the nation, a designation initially chosen for its subtle anti-monarchial sentiment. Shouldn’t that imply a commitment to utilize shared resources for the common good of all?
Irit Ovadia Rosenberg, Untitled, 2000-2008, Stoneware, metal, 9.5 x 10 x 1.5 in. Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Andrew Marshall
The title for the exhibition SOCIOECONOMIC BODIES— inspired by the text “Cognitarian Subjectivation” (2010) by Franco Bifo Berardi — is the proposition that our bodies are affected via the nervous system by the socio-economic climate. Chronic illness and mental illness are specifically addressed in the exhibition as afflictions stemming from bi-products of accelerated Late Capitalism. The ways in which economies directly affect a city are embedded in the recent history of Detroit, similarly these effects are embodied in the experience of mental and chronic illness. The rapidly developing Corktown neighborhood that is supporting the exhibition, comes into the fold when considering art and culture acting as catalysts to gentrification. Raising the question: how does chronic illness and anxiety intersect with spaces of cultural production? SOCIOECONOMIC BODIES will feature work by artist and cultural producer Grey Ellis and multidisciplinary artist Leena Joshi. The installed work will activate these questions through an experiential exhibition within the politically active agenda brought forward by Young Curators, New Ideas V.
Sophie Olympia Riese
What are the impacts of walls, maps and borders on our society and on our individual psyches? Since the time humans began sheltering together, even before they moved out of caves and started building structures, they have been infatuated by walls. As human societies grew, so too did the scale of this obsession: we began making walls so big we needed maps to keep track of what they enclosed. Maps too are written by the victor, defining spaces and peoples.
In Real Imagined Borders, Irit Rosenberg presents visceral sculptures that explore the true impact of these divisions on our society. She is heavily influenced by her experiences as a child in the early days of Israel’s statehood and her perception of the importance of maps and borders in that society. This concept reemerged for her while living in the United States during the 1990s, when a wall between Mexico and the US first entered the public imagination. Today, the work that sprang from this focus seems even more prescient, and more poignant. Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” and a late introduction to ceramics became the jumping off point for a central question: Who, if anyone, benefits from these divisive constructions?
Politics and feelings have been a driving force behind the development of Katarzyna Perlak’s practice. She’s most influenced by her experiences as a woman, queer, Eastern European and an immigrant. The starting point for her work is often autobiographical, which she then expands into intersubjective dialogues, tapping into ideas of desires and shared vulnerabilities, collective memory and history and asks what the tradition is, whom does it belong to and how can it be reclaimed by those that are marginalized within it?
While continuously revisiting hope, affect, helplessness and strategies of coping with situations of crisis – political or personal – Katarzyna’s works have become increasingly engaged with text and semantics. She investigates the epistemological transference from ‘utopian visions’ to ‘utopian feelings’ and consequently the shift from the spatially oriented notions of utopia to those that are time oriented and based in ‘utopian experiences’.
Wish Landscapes will explore experiences of exhaustion and hope and deal with the subjects of migration and belonging through the portrayal and representation of stories and experiences. Wish Landscapes takes its title from Ernst Bloch’s definition of the relationship between contemporary notions of utopia, hope and horizon.
Lauren Kalman, Avatars, 2015, Slip cast earthenware, gold-plated brass, paper mache, leather, glass, 14 x 10 x 10 in. each, Courtesy of Lauren Kalman, Photo: Lauren Kalman
Women’s Work and the Apocalypse surveys a not-so-distant future.
Set in a hotel room, both familiar and foreign, audiences enter into a new landscape in an environment that was known, now vanished and regrown. The room has become an abandoned cave of foliage, yet there seems to be something living in it. Indeed, parts of the hotel room have remained unchanged for years, but there is an apparent new life outside of nature’s revival and defiance. In the middle of the room hangs a clothing line with new fibers stretched like canvas. A slight breeze moves through the room, and the cloth sways. Everything else is still- as if the environment knows an audience is intruding. The space mimics an amphitheater; the cloth performs as if on a stage and the audience moves around the objects on view. Someone or something had just been here, donning the tapestries and laying them to dry in the heat.
In this exhibit, Fafnir Adamites and Jess Bass create an immersive narrative landscape about what it means to make and sustain a home in loss; the artists question what of domestic work will remain after societal systems have failed against earth’s retaliation.
Darryl DeAngelo Terrell
What does it mean to memorialize the safe spaces in which queer, black bodies have existed? Box of 24 shares the work of Chicago-based artist Derrick Woods-Morrow, who aims to reconcile the histories of queer bodies and their relationship to land. Centering around locations historically used for cruising by queer men of color, Woods-Morrow explores the significance of their existence from the 1970s to the present. By collecting elements of these cruising spaces—such as sand from black and queer-friendly beaches and parks in New York and New Orleans and bricks from the George Washington monument in the South Side of Chicago—he aims to immortalize the unwritten history of the people that occupied these spaces. In an alchemical transformation that crystallizes the bricks by fusing them with the sand, there is a transmuting of the past, present and future— unifying them into a singular body. Box of 24 consists of collected, crystallized sand and brick, a recorded performance by Woods-Morrow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and photographs from Fire Island, New York and Lincoln Beach in New Orleans.
Embodiers, created by Detroit based metalsmith, performance and object artist Lauren Kalman, consists of video, costumes, mask forms, installation and interactive jewelry exhibition. In this exhibition, Kalman uses craft mediums and decorative objects as a strategic choice. Minimalism, intellectual purity, the health industry and white male privilege are linked historically, and that link was codified aesthetically throughout the Modernist period. Body adornment as decoration can be a necessary interruption to the myopic intellectual order of the established lineages of art and design and established cultural norms more broadly. The legacy of modernism, minimalism and the high arts (sculpture and painting) have historically privileged the cerebral over the corporeal. Crafts, in contrast, have long been associated with domestic, bodily and female. As Kalman’s work deals largely with the female body, it calls upon historical associations with craft and the feminine.
Embodiers is comprised of objects from several bodies of work including masks, garments and performance video from, Avatars; But if the Crime is Beautiful… Strangers to the Garden an installation using thousands of decorative leaves; and jewelry objects that reference erotic zones in the body titled Icons of the Flesh.
Featured Image: Katarzyna Perlak, Happily Ever After, 2019, Video still. Courtesy of the artist
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