Phoebe Washburn: Seconds of Something

June 27–September 20, 2004

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Seconds of Something, 2004, a new site-specific installation by New York-based artist Phoebe Washburn.

Using recycled materials found on local loading docks and in alleyways, Washburn creates post-Minimalist constructions that appear as swells of urban refuse. In each of her installations, Washburn paints scavenged wood, cardboard, or newspaper in institutional pastels—greens, pinks, and blues—and subsequently cements it all together to form a sedimentation of layered detritus. Washburn refers to her works as "spontaneous architecture," emphasizing a bipolar urge to merge the accidental and the intentional. Her massive, undulating structures consume and overpower the gallery space, swallowing their audience, and all else in their path.

For Seconds of Something, Washburn uses recycled newsprint painted with mistint (custom mixed color paint rejected by the consumer). Tracking the relationship between time and the amount of paper mass discarded daily, Washburn assigns each weekday its own color: Monday/blues, Tuesday/greens, Wednesday/yellows, Thursday/oranges, Friday/reds, Saturday/pinks and purples, and Sunday/whites. She coils the painted newsprint together to form colossal landmasses, supported by an ad hoc, makeshift ramp. The ramp, formed by a variety of materials that range from generic folding chairs to conventional industrial building materials and scrap wood from a previous installation, is not fixed, so that the substructure can compress into spaces, against walls, into corners, and wrap around architectural details.

Phoebe Washburn (b. 1973, Poughkeepsie, New York) currently lives and works in New York City. Washburn received a B.F.A. at Newcomb College, Tulane University in New Orleans (1996) and completed an M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts (2002). Solo exhibitions include Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC (2004); LFL Gallery, New York (2004); Ierimonti Gallery, Milan, Italy (2004); Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell University, Grinnell, Iowa (2003); Rice University Gallery, Houston, Texas (2003); Mixture Gallery, Houston, Texas (2003); and LFL Gallery (2002).


  • Phoebe Washburn
    Seconds of Something (2004)
    Mixed media
    Dimensions variable

  • Phoebe Washburn
    Seconds of Something (2004)
    Mixed media
    Dimensions variable

  • Phoebe Washburn
    Seconds of Something (2004)
    Mixed media
    Dimensions variable

 

Phoebe Washburn: Seconds of Something is curated by P.S.1 Assistant Curator Amy Smith-Stewart.

This exhibition was made possible in part by the Manhattan Community Arts Fund/ New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Special thanks to installation volunteers: Vince Alcaide, A.J. Bocchino, Michelle Calabro, Emily Chua, Corry Kanzenberg, Patrick Lim, Peter Mallo, Joan Monserrate, Joel Murphy, Rick Ponce, and Erica Pajerowsky.