THINGS IN A ROOM, Terminal Projects, Brooklyn – NY
The picture above is a partial installation view of “Things in a Room” at Terminal Projects.
“Things in a Room,” a recent exhibition featuring new works by nine New York-based artists, is on first glance simply that: a collection of familiar, seemingly unrelated objects. Presented at Terminal Projects, a white haven of a gallery space in Crown Heights, Brooklyn founded by Adam Gordon and Ben Hall, “Things in a Room” features several collaborative art projects, including Keenan/Eaton (comprised of Jeff Eaton and Back Yard Projects co-founder Sean Keenan), BFFA3AE (Daniel Chew, Micaela Durand, and Matthew Gaffney), and anonymous art collective Duane Reade, as well as works by Alex Bienstock, Marysia Gacek, Mark Kokopeli, and Daniel Loxton.
Upon closer inspection, the “things” in this room are actually skewed versions of the objects they resemble – their materials manipulated, their functions inverted or eliminated. Scott Keightley’s chess set (“Stalemate,” 2012) is “unplayable,” slanted and destroyed. Alex Bienstock’s multiple Glade plug-in air fresheners do not provide relief from odor but instead overwhelm the room with an artificial fresh scent. Micaela Durand and Scott Keightley’s Kashi cereal and Voss water (“Ari and Nari,” 2012) are trapped in cement, unable to nourish or quench.
Despite the laissez-faire, collective approach to curation, the common threads are evident, not always in aesthetic end but in approach. In many instances, objects were destroyed to yield new material and purpose. For example, Daniel Loxton’s DVDs, smooth and prismatic in their original form, were pulverized only to create an alternative, shimmery and light-refracting surface coating two small paintings. Marysia Gacek’s shucked oysters, paired with a t-shirt stretched on canvas, elegantly recall the body that the objects fed and clothed. In the process of transforming the function of the oysters and clothing into art materials (a palette and canvas), the original objects are consumed and destroyed.
The artists casually acknowledge the hierarchical system of the art world through their materials and means of attaining them: Mark Kokopeli presented a found New York kitsch painting as his own, Jeff Eaton repurposed invitations to contemporary exhibitions as his material, and Duane Reade installed a paint stick stolen from the studio of a significant historical painter (name and image withheld). When placed in the context of artists in the room dealing more specifically with readymade and everyday objects, the exhibition as a whole illuminates the impulse to create using the materials we have and see, to find potential in the form and function of an everyday object but always with the awareness of the object’s audience as an artwork.
All images courtesy Terminal Projects.