Spinning in PlaceCurated by Sophie Landres
601Artspace, 88 Eldridge Street
October 7, 2023 - Jan 7, 2024
View installation images here
The height of the pandemic hit the depths of an era. Our eyes had adjusted to the dark. We could now measure the abyss into which we spiraled. It was both bottomless and claustrophobic. Driven indoors again after a season of collective outrage on the street, socializing took place alone. Body bags zipped shut. Refrigerator trucks remained parked. Remote work was optimized by squeezing ever more tightly into virtual interfaces. For the millions still left unemployed, economic discourse offered a choice between the heavy overhaul of revolution and a paradox called the career pivot. Sirens whirled and the world kept spinning out of control. Those proverbially uncertain times thus advanced with the certainty of the only movement that goes nowhere upon fulfillment: rotation.
In art, rotation has long been an aesthetic device for depicting incarceration as both a real and allegorical state. It can signal the ebbs and stagnations of movement as both a spatial and political phenomenon. Spinning in Place was organized to explore rotation through a hazily post-pandemic lens. It presents sculptures, paintings, film, kinetic objects, installation, prints, and drawings by Shimon Attie, Jamal Cyrus, Kim Dacres, Craig Kalpakjian, Mernet Larsen, Jorge Macchi, Jonathan Monk, Bettina Pousttchi, and Aura Satz. In these works, rotation appears within social movement and social mobility, cyclical histories, the panoptical gaze of surveillance, the machinations of time, and both the virtual and architectural quarters in which we spend our time and from which we barely move.
While setting out to capture the zeitgeist was not necessarily the artists’ explicit intention, something of our time—both the historical narrative of it and the phenomenological experience of presence—can be recognized within their depictions of movement within stasis. Placing their work in proximity to one another is one attempt to better understand the turn of recent events.
Printed copies of the curator’s full-length essay, “The Tightest Turn: Notes on a Post-Pandemic Aesthetic,” will be available at the gallery. A digital copy can be requested by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophie Landres is a curator and arts writer, specializing in postwar intermedia and contemporary art. In September, 2023, Sophie began an appointment as the Curator of The Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, NY. Prior to that, she served as the Director and Curator of River Valley Arts Collective, where she recently curated Kite: Oíhaŋbleta (In a Dream). Sophie previously worked at the Museum of Art and Design in Miami, FL, where she curated exhibitions and performances featuring Forensic Architecture, Navild and Sosa, Andros Zins Browne, and Paul Ramírez Jonas. She has also held positions at arts organizations including Art in General, Creative Time, and the Museum of Modern Art, and independently curated exhibitions with work by Zarouhie Abdalian, Tauba Auerbach, Liz Collins, Dexter Sinister, Zipora Fried, Kate Gilmore, Jules Gimbrone, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Jennie C. Jones, and Saya Woolfalk, among many others. Sophie has a Ph.D. in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University, an M.F.A. in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa. She has taught at Columbia University, the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, The New School, New York University, and Stony Brook University. Her writing has appeared in Art Basel Stories, Art Journal, The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Modern Painters, and PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art.
Image: Shimon Attie, still from The Crossing, 2017. Single channel film, color, sound. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.