Joan Wallace: Methods of Attachment

October 24, 2004–February 21, 2005

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents a survey of paintings by Joan Wallace entitled Methods of Attachment. Included in the exhibition are works made in the mid-to-late 1980s by the collaborative team of Wallace & Donohue, paintings by Wallace from the 1990s including Formula II (Something Borrowed, Something Blue) (1992), which was part of Cady Noland's installation for Documenta IX in Kassel, Germany in 1992, and two new works produced especially for this exhibition. New works include Panic Table (2004), which turns a monochrome painting into a table replete with a pool ladder and an escape hatch/trap door, and Piece of Cake (For Jack Goldstein) (2004), a painting incorporating a short video movie, which is dedicated to the late, influential California conceptualist.

Wallace's work occupies a unique position among the currents that have animated art and engaged artists since the 1980s: appropriation, the "end" of painting, and the reinvestigation of Pop, Minimal, and Conceptual art. From 1983 to 1990, Wallace was part of the collaborative team Wallace & Donohue, which created work that is highly theatrical and self-aware, employing language, an absurdist sense of humor, and various devices—rotating and sliding panels, track lighting, a surveillance camera—to interrupt the otherwise passive act of looking. Wallace & Donohue began to author their work separately in 1988, and dissolved the partnership two years later. The paintings that Wallace made in the 1990s grew increasingly complex, deftly incorporating objects, video, and cultural and art historical references. After a seven-year hiatus that included writing screenplays as well as a column on art, culture and film, Wallace returned to art making in 2002.

  • Joan Wallace
    Split Girl/Man Sleeping (Trying to Keep Things Still) (1988)
    Latex and oil silkscreen on wood, adjustable wood support
    72 x 60 x 11 3/4 in.
    Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

  • Joan Wallace
    Formula II (Something Borrowed, Something Blue) (1992)
    Acrylic on canvas, two sets of florescent lights, bowling pins, wood shelves and supports
    84 x 72 x 20 in.
    Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

  • Joan Wallace
    The Frigidaire Painting (Like a Pariah) (1988)
    Latex on canvas, refrigerator, video monitor, VCR
    87 x 60 x 27 in.
    Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York


This exhibition is organized by P.S.1 Curatorial Advisor Bob Nickas.