AUG. 2015, NEW YORK
Sight | Site | Cite
August 22nd, 2015 through September 6th
OUTLET Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Organized by Noah Becker, Jeffrey Grunthaner and Julian Jimarez-Howard
Sponsored by Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art
Opening reception with the artists Saturday, August 22 from 7-10pm
Featured artists include:
Julie Tuyet Curtiss
Showing at OUTLET Fine Art in Bushwick, Brooklyn from August 22nd through September 6th, Sight | Site | Cite aspires to provide discontinuous but related occasions for creative assemblies that extend the environing, design-like character of the works on exhibit. The upshot of a conversation between myself, Jeff Grunthaner, and the painter and publisher of Whitehot Magazine Noah Becker, the curator and artist Julian Jimarez-Howard was intrigued by our proposal and agreed to co-curate and host the exhibition at his gallery, which he co-runs with curators Jason Andrew and John Silvis.
The exhibition is part of an ongoing series of shows sponsored by Whitehot Magazine. The following is a transcription of a conversation we recently had about some of the artists involved and our curatorial process.
Noah Becker: Talk about Eric Shaw. Where and how did you meet him?
Jeff Grunthaner: I met Eric on the rooftop of the poet Lee Ann Brown's house, at a birthday party for her husband, the actor Tony Torn. It’s weird because my birthday is the day after Tony Torn's, so it was kind of my little birthday thing too. Anyway, Eric was friends of friends who were there, and he showed me some of his paintings on his phone and I was like: “Wow, these are great!” This is 2 or 3 years ago. What happened was, I was actually at an OUTLET opening, and he was across the street at a 99¢ opening—and I'm getting drunk at both places, of course, going back and forth. So I see Eric and I'm like: “Eric I'm putting together this art show at OUTLET, do you want to be in it?”
What I like about his work, though—how I think it fits in with the theme of this show—is that it strategically presents space in this almost sculptural mode. His paintings are layered, but they're also really flat and iconographic. Each is its own world, similar to abstraction, but there are still figurative elements. The particular piece we're showing has a rear view mirror in it. I thought that piece was really cool. He sent me a few and that's the one I liked the best.
Speaking of his work as a whole, it's evolved quite a lot since I met him. I've wanted to show his work or write about it for the longest time, so this is my opportunity.
Julian Jimarez-Howard: Cool. I've been following Julie Curtiss's work for a while, but it hasn't been till recently that I've been able to show her work. And I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to show her work again. She's an incredibly talented individual on a technical level. She’s an amazing producer of art objects. But beyond that I think that the kind of observations that she makes through her work about people, and our relationships with each other, are right on point with where we wanted to go with the exhibition
NB: I would like to talk about Irena Jurek and Rachel Mason. Irena is a person that I met through my friend the great painter and sculptor Natalie Collette Wood. Irena is involved in all kinds of different exhibitions, and she has a blog that she maintains where she does studio visits with other artists. In general, I found that she was someone who's really plugged into what's going on. She's also been appearing as the host of several of the videos that Whitehot Magazine has been doing, our video series. She's met with people like Deborah Kass and Wendy White, and I sort of identified with her as being almost like a version of myself—someone who's not only an artist but also really interested in culture. She's a really hard worker and produces a lot. And I thought that she would be someone who related to a lot of the other artists in the show. Rachel Mason is also a person whom I see as being a cultural magician to a certain extent...involved in a lot of different things and attracting a great deal of attention and respect from other cultural producers.
JJ-H: I have a question for both of you guys. I work regularly as a curator, but it would be interesting to hear about your thoughts and approach to the show, since this more novel for you. Not only its gestation—which came out of a conversation that you guys had—but also your thoughts on its articulation, artist selection, and your curatorial process?
JG: Well, I'm influenced a lot by the Situationists, by Frank Stella's theories on the composition of pictorial space, and by Vito Acconci. And for a while there's been this almost idée fixe in my mind about what art should be and what it can accomplish. So the idea of bringing a group of people together who could really demonstrate that was important.
JJ-H: It's just interesting to see a changing of the gears, from words to thinking with images.
JJ-H: ...or environments....
JG: I think about the exhibition in terms of an environment more than images.
JJ-H: I should say: in more "experiential" terms.
JG: Yeah. No, I definitely think about it like that. There's a strange synergy between the artists in the show as a whole. Between the five or so that I chose, there's an interesting medley, a certain level of conflict, which I like.
NB: Well, I live in a neighborhood that doesn't have a lot of partying going on—Brooklyn Heights. It's very low key, very quiet. It feels like I look at New York from a secret quiet 19th century hollow. A lot of what I do is very private in it's inception. The way I work with writers, I mean. Some writers I've worked with 10 years and I've never met them, even though we might live in the same city. Similar relationships happen with my fellow painters. The opportunity to actually collaborate with Jeffrey on something is appealing, because whenever I do something outside of the virtual world, with one of the writers I work with, it's always more sophisticated than when I work with somebody I know in a different sense. So through that I knew we would come up with something really unique, and I wouldn't have to worry about it going in the wrong direction.
JG: (Laughs.) Which is why I'm really happy you were on board as well, Julian. When I was first talking to you about it, I had envisioned this insanely busy exhibition, with art squeezed out onto the ceiling and stuff like that. And you were like: "No, no, let the works breath." So we pared down the list to 12 artists.
NB: Yeah, and it's not a materials-heavy show. It's not just a bunch of painters—a game of 2-dimensions. It's 3-dimensions, it's 4-dimensions.
JJ-H: Those were some of the things that actually attracted me to the show: the multifaceted level of engagement. The way that it was proposed struck me as something that could be unique…and not only interesting, but worthwhile.
JG: Yeah, cool.
JJ-H: Which is why you do anything, right?
JJ-H: Another interesting facet of this exhibition is that it not only includes a large number of artists, but that it's been collaborative in its inception, its execution, and hopefully also in its execution. In its ultimate form, there will be these events that invite people to collaborate and participate in the exhibition beyond just coming to an opening and making a lap around the gallery.
JG: Exactly. And to really put to use the time-frame of a 2-week show. It's really interesting when you think about it: a moment comes, and then it passes away.
It's really rare that you get a chance to actually seize upon it for what it is, as opposed to treating it as an object of hope or nostalgia. WM