What is my work about?
My work often addresses space as it relates to issues of privacy and publicity when the lack of the former seems at an all-time apotheosis. Initially inspired to make physical the virtual qualities of digital design environments I experienced while working in architectural studios — such as transparency, two-dimensional surfaces deployed three-dimensionally, and other material paradoxes — I became interested in exploring the politics of transparency and opacity, the physical and virtual, and the responsibility of the artist to preserve alternatives to the status quo.
For my generation, the post-9/11 erosion of civil rights through the NSA’s PRISM program or the GCHQ’s Optic Nerve initiative was the first time that the privacy we had taken for granted was called into question. In 2014, as I began to prepare work for the exhibition Bi-Stable States, transgressions against the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act seemed at an all-time high. The previous year had been dominated by news of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and global and domestic surveillance revealed at a totalizing magnitude.
It was under these conditions that I began to explore notions of privacy and publicity, while often working with the concept of the wall and a dematerialized confidence in the solidity of architecture.
Advances in construction at the beginning of the 20th century favored concrete and steel columns over load bearing walls to support buildings, relieving the wall of its structural responsibilities. It has since performed an almost exclusively social role, inflecting subjectivity and sexuality, and reinforcing traditions—or breaking them down.
The sculpture Mass Instruction takes a neutral position on the penetrating transparency of the past fifteen years to demonstrate one repercussion, not just in the political and cultural worlds, but in the physical world as well. It reveals to the viewer the power, literally, inside those infrastructures typically invisible but none-the-less forceful in shaping our experience of the built environment.
Mass Instruction’s diaphanous presence is also an attempt to interpret a digital division of space promised by a future constructed not of bricks and mortar, but through a non-physical visual architecture soon possible through interfaces such as the Oculus Rift.
While Mass Instruction addresses political and physical issues of transparency, Bad Citizen explores publicity and privacy through opacity and technology. The panels that make up Bad Citizen are a federally mandated building material referred to as a “tactile warning surface”, required on boundary surfaces denoting danger such as the blended ramp between street and sidewalk or the edge of a subway platform. When placed on the gallery wall, these panels recast the boundary surface of the architecture invoking skepticism of its solid neutrality.
Inspired by Hans Haacke’s Shapolsky et al., Gordon Matta Clark’s Fake Estates, and my recent discovery of New York City’s registry of “privately owned public spaces” (what seemed to me as an unusual and rarely considered oxymoron), I began to strategize a way to preserve the public’s access to the artwork after a sale removes it from the gallery, placing it in private or institutional hands.
To preserve public access to the works, Wi-Fi enabled surveillance cameras are incorporated and their video feed is made freely available online. The contract that accompanies the Bad Citizen pieces stipulates that if sold to a private collector, the video feed through the work itself must be kept accessible to the public for a negotiated period of time, and if sold to an institution, must be kept live while the piece is on display. This gesture inverts a typical relationship between body and canvas, where rather than present an after image of the artist’s action, the canvas becomes an open source body inhabitable by multiple publics.
Another group of works, Rogue Objects, are composed of items that retain a sense of familiarity but whose cultural position has shifted. One example from the series, Assisted Living, is an Olympic-style discus with a fan embedded into it. As the membrane between the natural and artificial disintegrates across disciplinary boundaries, this work suggests a shifting metric of judgement from the physical might of the Olympian to a privileging of technological know-how, the forthcoming “internet of things”, and the emergence of the liminal legal and ethical space inhabited by drones.
While the meaning in many works are opened, some part of the original use value is often maintained. Assisted Living’s discus retains its identity as a discus, and Mass Instruction, despite being made from expanded metal mesh, still functions as a stud wall; the power inside the work is real and only requires that it be turned on.
b. 1979 Hartford, CT.
Lives and works in New York, NY
2010 – 2012 Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, M. Arch II
1998 – 2003 Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, B. Arch
1997 The New School, Parsons Paris, Painting and Drawing Intensive, Summer
Group Show, Organized by Lou Cantor, Berlin, (Forthcoming) 2015
Group Show, Organized by Domenico Di Chirico, Milan, (Forthcoming) 2016
New Visual Values, Organized by Ivana Vuksic and Bruno Pogačnik Wukodrakula, Zagreb, Croatia2014
Bi-Stable States, Room East, New York, NY
Soft Shock, Eli Ping Frances Perkins Gallery, Curated by Lucie Fontaine, New York, NY
Paradise (Working Title), Art Basel Miami Beach, with Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher, Miami, FL
NPR Bar, Know More Games, Miami, FL
Comprehensive Sculpture Exhibition, Green Hall Gallery, Yale University, School of Art, New Haven, CT
H.I. Feldman Prize, Nominee, Yale University, 2011
Guggenheim Museum, competition winner, Re: Contemplating the Void, 2010
Co-editor, Exhibiting Architecture: A Paradox? (New York: Yale SOA), 208 Pages
Beauty in a Time of Violence, on Justin Berry, PIN-UP Magazine, Issue 18, Spring/Summer
Against Representation: in conversation with David Joselit, DIS Magazine
Pakui Hardware at Jennifer Nails, Frankfurt, DIS Magazine
Artie Vierkant at Untitled Gallery, New York, DIS Magazine
Dena Yago: Art in the Anthropocene, DIS Magazine
The 19th Draft: an interview with Christopher Williams, DIS Magazine
Brad Troemel at Tomorrow Gallery, New York, DIS Magazine
Meet Nancy Lupo, Kaleidoscope Magazine
Visit Nicolas Ceccaldi at Kunstverein München, Kaleidoscope Magazine
Visit Chadwick Rantanen at Standard (OSLO), Kaleidoscope Magazine
Yale University, Panel Moderator, Exhibitions in Dialogue, New Haven, CT
Art Basel Miami Beach, Talks Program, Salon 2013 with Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher
Triennial di Milano, Media City: New Spaces, New Aesthetics, with Erik Herrmann, Milan, Italy
DVLPR Inc., Founder. Talks Program
A symposium on DIS Magazine’s The Data Issue, Abrons Art Center, New York
Extrastatecraft, Keller Easterling, Abrons Art Center, New York
The K-Hole PDFs, Sean Monahan, Abrons Art Center, New York
Chrissie Iles, The Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator, Whitney Museum, Abrons Art Center, New York