Simon Lee Gallery New York is delighted to present Metropolis, an exhibition that showcases how artists use the city as a source for materials, subjects, and ideas. The works present how artists can interpret the metropolis in multifarious forms, and illustrate the universality of the city.
The cityscape is a source of disorder, a place to play and learn; it’s a site of both creation and destruction. A warren of brick alleys and concrete streets expanding and contracting in unison, the metropolis is a living organism. A stimulant for cultural circulation, the city lends itself as a platform for the creative community. The work presented within this exhibition displays how the urban environment affects and is influenced by the artists residing inside.
“Manhattanism is the one urbanistic ideology that has fed, from its conception, on the splendors and miseries of the metropolitan condition—hyper-density—without once losing faith in it as the basis for a desirable modern culture. Manhattan's architecture is a paradigm for the exploitation of congestion.”
This quote, written in 1979 by the Dutch-born, London-based architect Rem Koolhaas, epitomizes the specific condition whereby culture is directly influenced by its urban design and architecture. The metropolis serves as a platform for the controlled fluidity of human interaction and exchange which for centuries has been illustrated in the fine arts. The congestion of the cityscape is most appropriately exploited by artists through representations of their urban surroundings and the discourses produced within. Works are frequently self-referential in their depictions of the infrastructure of cities or communities. Others pieces may exploit the mediums from which these subjects originate such as technique, material or concept. What they all share in common, however, is an awareness of the recursive relationship that humans have with their surroundings, how a millennia-old blueprint affects a contemporary dialogue.
Artists within the exhibition such as Rose Marcus, Larry Clark, Zoe Leonard, and João Penalva portray neglected still lives of the cityscape through photography. Marcus uses a point-and-shoot camera to document the city as if through a flâneur's eye, later adding sourced fabric further obfuscating the photo. Leonard’s series of photographs showcase plastic bags hooked to tree branches, doomed to remain there until either the bag or tree disintegrates. The infamous pictures by Clark exhibit characters often neglected within a city, each photo offering a momentary glimpse into an otherwise hidden narrative. Penalva documents the rugged sidewalks that trace his daily walks from his studio to his apartment in London. Each at a monumental scale, the photographs portray a continual clash of metropolitan renewal creating a historical collage of urban infrastructure.
Just as urban planners anticipate the movement of a city’s residents and how that will affect its infrastructure, Angela Bulloch’s practice is defined by her fascination with systems and how they affect our behavior. Because of this it is no surprise that her latest collaboration would be with New York-based artist Noah Barker who is also attentive to the same apparatuses. For Metropolis, Bulloch presents a new version of her Listening Stations series and the latest release on her record label ABCDLP. The featured LP is by Barker whose Soundtrack for Development originally premiered at the Okayama Art Summit in 2016. Collaborating with local producer/musician Ju Muraoka, a song was made as a theme for the Summit. The song was then separated into instrumental tracks and remixed into six variations, one playing at the entrance of six different venues. Marrying the two artists’ investigations in public space and how this affects daily life, Bulloch and Barker understand that to accurately portray a cityscape one must sometimes engage with the source of its design. Similarly, Carl Andre appropriates limestone that makes up millions of structures throughout the world. The geometric, brutalist sculpture presented within the gallery highlights not only Andre’s sense of industrial material but is also a simple aesthetic homage to postmodern architecture.
Eric N. Mack characteristically uses fabric and peg boards to create expressionistic and formal compositions. The work offers a sort of portrait of a cityscape, as the artist will often use found material to make sculpture. The elements from which these art objects derive from can be found in shops that populate New York City. The pegboard sculptures can also mimic barriers and/or ad hoc shelters, behaving like preliminary designs for a larger structure. A literal maquette is presented in the exhibition by Dan Graham, who showcases a small, spiral glass model that is inhabited by small dolls.
Lastly in Metropolis are paintings that detail specific nuances of buildings by Luc Tuymans and Kelley Walker. Walker utilizes a four-color silkscreen process to create his illusionistic brick painting. The piece is a hyperreal illustration of the thing-within-itself, a portrait of the very structure from which it hangs. Ceiling (1993) by Luc Tuymans is a study of the trusses of an ambiguous room. The beams are executed within his familiar palette, and their anonymity erases any semblance of banality the subject matter may have. The trusses could hold the roof of a hospital, a death chamber, a school, or home. This obscurity is a continual theme with the work in the exhibition, as the artists showcase the remarkable similarities that metropolises have across the planet.
Carl Andre was born in 1935 in Quincy, MA and lives and works in New York, NY. In 2015 he was the subject of a major survey exhibition, Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010 at the Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, NY (2014), which traveled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2015), Hamburger Bahnhof Museum fur Gegenwart Berlin, Germany (2016); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (2017), and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2017). Selected group exhibitions include Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes, France (2017); Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland (2017); MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2016); Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2016); The Drawing Center, New York, NY (2016); Mamco- musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2016); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2015); Herbert Foundation, Ghent, Belgium (2015); Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL (2014); Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France (2012); and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2012).
Angela Bulloch was born in 1966 in Ontario, Canada and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Bulloch’s work has been shown extensively internationally and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE (2016), Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2012); Stadtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany (2011); Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany (2008) and Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2005). Major institutional group shows include Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, UK (2016); Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany (2015); Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2014); FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkirk, France (2014); Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2011); Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2008).
Noah Barker was born in 1991 and lives and works in New York, NY. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at And Now, Dallas, TX (2016); First Continent, Baltimore, MD (2015); and Lodos Contemporáneo, Chicago, IL, 2013. Selected group exhibitions include 開発/Development, curated by Liam Gillick, Okayama, Japan, (2016); Noah Barker, Benjamin Horns, Hannah Levy, Carlos Reyes, Eric Veit, Rear Window, New York, NY (2016); Ver Lento, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico (2016); Beneath a Thawing Lake, Dark Arts International, Mexico City, Mexico (2015); and Stowaways, Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy (2014).
Larry Clark was born in Tulsa in 1943 and lives and works in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA. In 1995 Clark released his first feature film, Kids, which premiered to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Clark’s other film projects include Another Day in Paradise (1998); Ken Park (2002); Wassup Rockers (2005); and Marfa Girl (2012), which was released independently on the artist’s website and was awarded the Golden Marcus Aurelius Prize at the 7th Rome Film Festival. His most recent feature, The Smell of Us (2014), was written and filmed in Paris, France. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at The Drexel Collection, Philadelphia, PA (2015); Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia, VA (2014); Museet for Fotokunst Brandts, Odense, Denmark (2012); CO Berlin, Berlin, Germany (2012); Musée d’Art moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, France (2010); and Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland (2009).
Dan Graham was born in 1942 in Urbana, IL and lives and works in New York, NY. He has recently presented solo exhibitions at Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia (2017); Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (2016); MAMO, Centre d'Art de la Cité Radieuse Marseille, France (2015); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2014); De Pont Foundation, Tillburg, Netherlands (2014); Shaker Museum, Mount Lebanon, New York, NY (2014); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2011); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2009); and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2009). Selected group exhibitions have been held at major international museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2016); PS1, Long Island City, New York, NY (2016); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2015); University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 21er Haus, Vienna, Austria (2015); Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France (2014); Musée de Louvre, Paris, France (2014); Swiss Pavilion, 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2014); Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria (2013);, São Paolo Musuem of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil (2013); and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2012).
Zoe Leonard was born in 1961 in Liberty, NY and lives and works in New York, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include Analogue, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2015);100 North Nevill Street, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX, (2013); Observation Point, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2012); and You See I Am Here After All, The Dia Foundation, Beacon, NY (2008). Selected group exhibitions include Urban Planning: Art and the City 1967–2017, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO (2017); White Columns, Looking back / The 11th White Columns Annual, New York, NY (2017); Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, The Met Breuer, New York, NY (2017); Nothing Personal: Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2017); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York, NY (2017); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2014); Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Masculin / Masculin, L’Homme nu dans l’art de 1800, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, FR (2013); NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum, New York, NY (2013); Viral Research, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2012); and Heart to Hand (curated by Pati Hertling), Swiss Institute, New York, NY (2012).
Eric N. Mack was born in 1987 in Columbia, Maryland and lives and works in New York, NY. He received his BFA from The Cooper Union, New York, NY and his MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT. He was recently awarded the BALTIC Artists’ Award 2017 by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK. His first major solo exhibition is Eric Mack: Vogue Fabrics, currently taking place at Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Major group exhibitions include Ungestalt, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2017); In the Abstract, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Massachusetts, MA (2017); Blue Black, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St Louis, MO (2017); Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2016) and Greater New York 2015, MOMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2015). From 28 June 2017, his work will be the subject of the concurrent solo exhibition, BALTIC Artists’ Award, at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK.
Rose Marcus was born in 1982 in Atlanta, GA and lives and works in New York, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include The Four Seasons, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2015); At Your Fingertips, David Petersen Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (2014); March, Eli Ping Frances Perkins, New York, NY (2014); and WITS END, Eli Ping, New York, NY (2012). Selected group exhibitions include In the Abstract, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA (2017); The Gap between the Fridge and the Cooker, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, UK (2017); Daydream from 2013, CANADA, New York, NY (2016); Towards the Theory of a Unified Hole, Bodega, New York, NY (2015); le doux ron-ron quotidian, Tanya Leighton, Berlin with Off Vendome, Dusseldorf, Germany (2014); and Why Marguerite Duras, The Artist's Institute, New York, NY (2012).
João Penalva was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1949 and has lived and worked in London, UK since 1976. He represented Portugal in the XXIII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo in 1996 and in the XLIX Biennale di Venezia in 2001, and was awarded the DAAD Berlin Artist’s Residency in 2003-2004. Recent solo museum exhibitions include Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim, Norway (2014); Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark (2012); CAM - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal (2011); Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden (2010); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal (2005); Ludwig Museum — Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary (2005); Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, Sweden (2002); Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (2000) and Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2000).
Luc Tuymans was born in 1958 in Mortsel, Belgium and lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. Recent solo exhibitions include Luc Tuymans: Prémonitions, Lille Métropole, musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France (2016); Luc Tuymans: Suspended. L’oeuvre graphique 1989-2014, Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image imprimée, La Louvière, Belgium (2015); Nice. Luc Tuymans, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2014); Luc Tuymans: Graphic Works, 1989-2012, Kunsthalle Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, Germany (2012); Luc Tuymans: Against the Day, Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium (2009). Selected group exhibitions include The Absent Museum, Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, Belgium (2017); Tate Modern: Display. Painting and Mass Media, Tate, London, UK (2016); Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, The Met Breuer, New York, NY (2016); 75 Gifts for 75 Years, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2015); The Inaugural Installation, The Broad, Los Angeles, CA (2015); El Hotel Eléctrico, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium (2014); The Garden of Diversion, Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing, China (2013); Contemporary Galleries: 1980 - Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2012); Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection, Fundación Banco Santander, Boadilla, Spain (2012); and Contemporary Painting, 1960 to the Present: Selections from the SFMOMA Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (2012).
Kelley Walker was born in 1969 in Columbus, GA and lives and works in New York, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include Kelley Walker: Direct Drive, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2016); Wade Guyton, Guyton\Walker, Kelley Walker, Kunsthaus-Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2013); Dreams Without Frontiers, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2013); and Whitney on Site: New Commissions Downtown: Guyton\Walker, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2010). Selected group exhibitions include Fine Good Dreams, Bad Dreams, American Mythologies, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon (2016); Progressive Praxis, de la Cruz Collection, Miami, FL (2016); America is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2015); Elective Affinities, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2014); Infinite City, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK; Expanding the Field of Painting, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2013); Regarding Warhol: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2012); The Painting Factory, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012); and Print/Out, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2012).
Press release courtesy Simon Lee Gallery.