Special Projects Summer 2004: Walead Beshty, Johnston Foster, Marepe, Mika Rottenberg, and Jenny Vogel

June 27–September 27, 2004

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center is proud to present new Special Projects on June 27, 2004, including works by Walead Beshty, Johnston Foster, Marepe, Mika Rottenberg, and Jenny Vogel. Special Projects are selected individually, without attention to a theme in order to reflect the extraordinary energy and variety of practices among young artists working in New York City and abroad.

Walead Beshty, Archive Room. Selected by P.S.1 Curatorial Advisor Bob Nickas.

Over the past three years, Los Angeles-based artist and critic Walead Beshty has been photographing "dead malls": malls which have been abandoned as larger retailers lured stores and shoppers away. The artist has described these spaces as possessing "an overwhelming uncanniness; devoid of people, stripped of most, if not all, of the façade signage, they have the feeling of eerily deserted scenes from war torn countries or derelict inner cities." Beshty takes a conceptual/documentary approach to the pictorial essay, and sees the dead malls as "swiftly becoming our own modern ruins." Also on view is a series of photographs taken at active malls during regular business hours. Here, the artist appears with his head completely inserted into merchandise and store displays. These pictures offer a comic/absurd counterpoint to the dead malls.

Walead Beshty is an artist and writer currently based in Los Angeles. He received his B.A. from Bard College in Photography (1999), and his M.F.A. from Yale School of Art (2002). In 2004 his work appeared in Self Evidence: Identity in Contemporary Art, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Buy American, Gallerie Chez Valentin, Paris; Cool Intentions, Sandroni Rey Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Behind Closed Doors, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York; Upstream: Idea Drawings, Hayworth Gallery, Los Angeles; and has an upcoming solo exhibition at Wallspace Gallery in New York. He currently teaches in the Art Department of the California Institute of the Arts, and the University of California at Los Angeles.


Johnston Foster: The Permanent Vacation. Floor 2, Gallery S204. Selected by P.S.1 Assistant Curator Amy Smith Stewart

For P.S.1, New York-based artist Johnston Foster presents The Permanent Vacation, a new site-specific installation that consists of a life-sized mechanical jacuzzi occupied by four ghostly creatures and situated in a lush yard of synthetic grass, rose bushes, and artificial freshly cut tree stumps. Using bold and playful colors and varied materials, Foster combines allusions to the mundane experiences of every individual with remnants of pop culture, humor, and various windows into his personal lifestyle. By using a wide variety of media, including plastic pots, novelty motors and various everyday items, he illuminates inveterate notions of high art.

Johnston Foster (b. 1978, South Boston, Virginia) is currently completing a M.F.A. at Hunter College and received a B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001. Solo exhibitions include: New Work, RARE, New York (2004); Plot Thickener, Ipenema Gallery, Richmond, Virginia (2001) and Trouble Everyday, Virginia Commonwealth Gallery, Richmond, Virginia (2000).


Mika Rottenberg: Marys Cherries. Floor 2, Gallery S201. Selected by P.S.1 Assistant Curator Amy Smith Stewart

Israeli artist Mika Rottenberg's work comments on global themes such as cultural identity, economy, and bodily perception. For P.S.1, Mika Rottenberg presents Marys Cherries, a new site-specific video installation. The video depicts three female wrestlers performing a series of bodily actions in a three-storied factory. Two women on the bottom floor rapidly pedal at a stationary table triggering a UV light that promotes red nail growth. The nail falls through a hole onto the second floor and another laborer massages and rubs it to stimulate its next stage of development. When it finally lands on the bottom floor, the nail metamorphoses into the end product: a maraschino cherry.

Rottenberg, who lives and works in New York City, received a B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in 2000 and an M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2004. Exhibitions since 1999 include Spring at the End of the Summer, a group exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; Short Cuts, Luggage Space Gallery in San Francisco; Paladar, Cuban Biennial, 2000 in Havana; Projects 2001, Islip Museum, Long Island City, New York; Tensionism, Perry Street Rove, New York; My Sources Say Yes, Guild & Greyshkul Gallery, New York; Art Basel Miami, Miami; and The Armory Show, New York.


Jenny Vogel: Time Deferred on Cancellation. Floor 2, Gallery S202. Selected by P.S.1 Assistant Curator Amy Smith Stewart

New York-based German artist Jenny Vogel explores the world as viewed through new media technology. Vogel has made short videos using web cameras, streaming news channels, and Google searches as source material. For P.S.1, Vogel presents a new video work in which, rather than using previously recorded material, she imports imagery from existing live web cameras that will update the video throughout the duration of the exhibition. Thus, the video will change upon each viewing, depending on the light and weather conditions of each camera and the activities in the cameras' visual fields. In this way, Vogel relinquishes her ability to control the imagery in front of her audience. The video is accompanied by a pre-recorded voice over, which will remain constant each time the video is seen, linking the images together to form a continuous narrative.

Jenny Vogel (b. 1975, Nuremberg, Germany) currently lives and works in New York. She received a B.F.A. and a M.F.A. in Combined Media at Hunter College. Group exhibitions and screenings include: Year Gallery, New York; The Block, Gallery Une, Neuchatel, Switzerland; Void, Educational Alliance, New York; Quixotic, Sling Shot Projects, New York; screening, NYU, New York (2003) and a screening, Interflugs, Berlin, Germany.


Marepe: Arca Azul de No. Floor 2, Gallery S203. Selected by P.S.1 Curator Jimena Blazquez.

Marepe's work has evolved from a deep connection with the local traditions, customs, and materials of Bahia, the Northeastern region of Brazil. In creating his works, the artist employs the specificities of his environmental milieu, and safeguards them as memory. As Marepe often uses readymade materials, as well as everyday objects or activities, his work has acquired a complex layering of references and meanings addressing the linkage between the individual and society. The appropriation, deployment, and dislocation of the object are the artist's points of departure as he searches for new modes of signification. For P.S.1, Marepe presents Arca Azul de No, a work that acts as a metaphor for everyday life. The arch is the primary representation of an archaic universe, carrying within itself individuals, symbolically represented by disposable plastic cups, which may be observed through a metal grid affixed to the top of the arch. The cyclical movement undergone by the cups, which are damaged by the activation of the wood lever, is provided by the physical effort expended by the spectator's moving the handle, driving the whole system into motion, and thereby producing a slightly disturbing sound.

Born 1970 in San Antonio de Jesus, Bahia, Brazil, Marepe lives and works in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. In addition to participating in various group exhibitions including the 2004 Istanbul Biennial, solo exhibitions include the Luisa Strina Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil; Hoof of Horse, Gallery Acbeu, Rescuer, Brazil; and It has Folder, if Coast? It Does Not Deny Crossbow, Has Bosta! You Like? But That Reply, It's Coast, Restaurant Cia of the Indians, Rescuer, Brazil.


  • Walead Beshty
    From the series The Phenomenology of Shopping (2001-03)
    C-prints mounted on plexiglass
    18 x 22 in.
    Courtesy of the artist and Wallspace Gallery, NY

 

Special thanks to Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paolo, Brazil and Anton Kern Gallery, New York.