Spaces like MoMA are sometimes overwhelming to visit when compared to smaller gallery visits. It’s difficult to keep up with room after room of combined media of art and the various artists themselves, especially when you happen to miss the intro texts that help to make connections to the curated work.
I did find Amanda Williams’ Color(ed) Theory Suite to be one of my favorites to view. Williams is a Chicago-based visual artist and trained architect. Her work explores color, race, and space in the city while blurring the conventional line between art and architecture. I also have an interest in architectural photography so I found this series not only to be pleasing to look at but also I enjoyed researching more on her architectural background and how she incorporated her skills into this project.
The houses photographed in Color(ed) Theory Suite were chosen to be painted by Williams, and her team of friends and family, due to their impending demolition and were painted specific monochromatic colors Williams created to represent consumer products that are generally marketed toward the Black community both on a national level as well as in the city of Chicago. Some of the photographs’ titles harped back some memories of my own such as “Pink Oil Moisturizer,” “Newport 100,” and “Flamin Red Hots.”
The color theory aspect to this project does add another level of weight to how the photographs are perceived. Are these the colors that represent my community and if so what does that say about how we are treated socially and politically. Further reading the project’s extended text on Williams’ website, she questions, “What color is urban? What color is gentrification? What color is privilege?” I wonder how a project like this would translate in other cities I am more familiar with such as Newark and Jersey City; areas that have be greatly hit by gentrification.
I greatly appreciate getting to know more about Amanda Williams, a new artist for me, and seeing her work displayed at MoMA. Her passion really comes to the forefront of her work knowing how much she contributed consciously and artistically to produce these images. I also know this is an ongoing project so I am excited to see where she moves forward this her work.
Amanda Williams’ Website: https://awstudioart.com/home.html
In Of This Being, Brooklyn-based artist Andrea Martucci employs multiple methods of photographic image making, along with video and sculptural explorations. This exhibition developed out of the artist’s drive to solidify a distorted identity, a result of coming of age while experiencing gender-based violence. Drawing from memory, Martucci renders imagery of bodily trauma in suspension and as sites of potential reaction. This work operates as a space of reflection, processing, and ultimately progression.
On the eve of her solo show, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Andrea to talk about her work, her influences and the curation of this exhibition.
Ronnie Yang: Can you tell us a bit about yourself personally and artistically?
Andrea Martucci: I am 24 years old and hail from Detroit, MI. I earned my BFA from The College for Creative Studies in photography with a minor in fine art and a focus on sculpture. I have worked in arts education for the Detroit Public Schools system and Oakland University, as well as art institutions including The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and The Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography.
RY: What does it mean to you to make work?
AM: I’ve been artistically inclined all of my life. It’s natural for me to express myself through my materials. I consider my work an extension of the self, a tactile expression of my growth and what is discarded in the process.
RY: Tell us about the title of the show, Of This Being and its significance?
AM: The title came as a result of the writings in my thesis book. I wanted the title to reflect the desire to be known for more than just this body or more than just the things that can happen to it. My advisor, Justine Kurland suggested a more holistic perspective which seemed to evoke a more positive connotation – “You can be more than just a body.”
RY: The concept of memory is a central element to the show, how has memory changed for you (if at all) through time?
AM: I think about time and memory a lot. Not necessarily how it changes over time, but just how it interacts with time. In my thesis I wrote a lot about how we tend to want to think about time in a linear, obvious way.
During times of trauma, this dynamic becomes less structured. Moments can replay over and over in the mind, causing them to take on a larger life.
RY: How does putting your work “on the wall” change the emotional weight of it?
AM: Putting work on the wall gives it more of a sense of tangibility, it becomes more of an object that you look upon and think about. Specifically, with the sculptural pieces, they become physically elevated, which can give them more emotional weight.
RY: How is your video work similar or different from your photography?
AM: My video work provides context that my other work does not. Hairstories is the narration of specific personal and familial anecdotes. It also makes the other work more specific. The video is also very science and materials based, more explicit, which is why it resides by itself in the show.
RY: How do the sculptural pieces integrate into the show?
AM: I think of the sculptural pieces as tangible records, of time and materials, in a way as evidence. They serve as visualizations of things that initially exist just in the mind, such as trauma and anxiety. I also appreciate the dialogue that can emerge between images and objects, creating additional layers to the narrative. Different relationships are often cultivated between viewer, object and the space. I love being able to integrate all those elements and still feel it is true to what I’m saying.
RY: What was the process like in deciding what to include in the show and how best to curate it?
AM: An initial inclination would be to do a retrospective of one’s work. With the help, again, of Justine, I decided to focus on work that made sense, work that focused on the body, trauma on the body and that would provide a clearer and more cohesive narrative.
It also made me appreciate the role of curation and how important it is to sequence the work – the right pieces together, in the right context with each other. There was other work I really liked, but not in the circumstance of this show. It doesn’t mean it’s not a part of my work. It feels good to have the clarity to make those choices.
On This Being
ICP-Bard MFA 2019 Solo Thesis Exhibition Opening: Andrea Martucci
Opening Reception: May 2, 2019 (6-9pm)
On view: May 3-5 | 12-6 PM or by appointment.
24-20 Jackson Avenue, 3rd Flr, Long Island City, NY 11101
2019 ICP-Bard MFA candidate Eugene Lee’s dual solo exhibition, Splitting as a Daily Practice/Clyde Street Market, on display now through Sunday at the ICP-Bard MFA Studios in Long Island City.
Splitting as a Daily Practice is a multimedia trilogy started in 2017. Beginning with the practice of expanding spatial sensation and exploring the elusiveness of light; intercutting and teleporting situations from the clashes of mundane matters to the avenues of emotional turning point, Lee manifests the question of “What use is art?” onto structures he sampled from daily phenomena. From dawn to dusk, from here and there, Splitting as a Daily Practice offers various synecdoche of everydayness that intertwined all together: as one, and as everything.
Clyde Street Market is a pop-up market that only exists when Lee, the artist, is “not in progress” and POOR (which is a norm)! Curated by Kool Clyde, this second-hand clothing market is situated within the subtle tensions between various types of distribution and the mercurial identities embroidered within clothing.
Light and dark and dark and light
Waiting outside cramped spaces
Bunch of posers
I am not a crook
Look, this is going nowhere
Hanging out on a sunny day
I’ve been told that my work often involves shapes.