The group exhibition “The Visible Hand” is the winning selection of the 2016-17 Open Call for Curatorial Projects by CUE Art Foundation. This program provides one deserving curator the necessary time and resources to realize an innovative project, with the aim of encouraging curatorial research in tandem with exhibition planning.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo:CUE Art Foundation
The group exhibition “The Visible Hand” draws on the homonym term of business history for management, as a corrective to the invisible forces of the market, this show posits art as a form of managerial practice. After all, artists already live, breathe and work as single-person institutions. Chloë Bass, BFAMFAPhD, Maureen Connor, Devin Kenny and Jen Liu, set aside the too-convenient narrative of art as an oppositional critique of corporate management, and propose art as existing within and alongside institutions rather than outside of them. The works here reflect on the entire process of artistic production, from early socialization to the arts education system to market pressures to systems of distribution, consumption and storage. “The Visible Hand” is organized by David Borgonjon, who believes that artists have the power to make organizations work better. He is curator at Eyebeam, a studio for technology by artists, and a founder of a Chinese-language website for media art criticism. Chloe Bass is a conceptual artist co-creating performances, publications, situations, and installations. The “Book of Everyday Instruction” is an eight-chapter project about one-on-one social interaction, investigating different iterations of the pair. “Chapter Six: What is shared, what is offered”, focuses on the process of pairing, of blending together flavor as an act of emotional continuity. Structured as a meal in four courses (engagement, maintenance, romance, and healing), this work offers conceptual pairings to guide participants past a scarcity mentality of emotional economy. The pair extends beyond two people, to include the relationships between people and institutions. BFAMFAPhD is a collective that works at the intersection of art, technology, and political economy. “Ten Leaps: A Lexicon for Art Education” is a free resource for educators that can be used to analyze and reimagine power relationships in the arts. The text, workbook, and card game are tools that prompt investigations into the whole life of projects—the ways materials are sourced, how the labor for producing a project is organized, how tools are accessed, how an artwork is supported, copyrighted, narrated, encountered, acquired, and how it finally departs, ready for another life cycle. Maureen Connor’s “Personnel”, initiated in 1999, turns exhibitions into opportunities to solve challenges relating to human resources in the cultural institution. Connor’s installations provide privacy, storage, water, or any other needs that surface during her research into the working conditions of art organizations. Documentation of several of her early projects will be on view, as will evidence of an ongoing new work. Devin Kenny presents a prototype of a platform for streamlined commissioning systems for artwork, his project proposes to disintermediate the gallery from the art collection process, so that collectors can easily commission new works directly from the artist through an easy graphic interface. Kenny’s project for The Visible Hand is produced in collaboration with Kevin Chen, a graphic designer and illustrator. Jen Liu’s “The Pink Detachment” paintings depict a series of large feminine fingers pushing and prodding, across a semi-abstract manufactured landscape. Liu’s exploration of power in the soft, affective form it often takes today draws on the colors and images of meatpacking, ballet, and Foxconn. These figures stand in for forces that are all around us but still too slippery to point to.
Info: Curator: David Borgonjon, CUE Art Foundation, 137 West 25th Street, , New York, Duration: 7/1-15/2/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Sat, 10:00-17:00, http://cueartfoundation.org