Josiah McElheny: Some Thoughts About The Average Body

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Josiah McElheny: Some Thoughts About The Average Body

20/06/2012

It is a particularly exciting time for Josiah McElheny, with three museum exhibitions displaying the diversity of subjects with which he is involved: currently on view through July 20 at Whitechapel Gallery, London is a year-long installation The Past is a Mirage I'd Left Far Behind, in part a meditation on abstraction in film throughout the twentieth century. Over the course of the next nine months two U.S. museums will present separate survey exhibitions of McElheny's work. Rather than present comprehensive surveys of McElheny's entire practice, each exhibition will describe the history of an idea within his oeuvre, with each museum taking on a different subject. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston will narrate the story of his projects involving astronomical cosmology and the infinite, while the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus will exhibit works that trace his obsession with writer Paul Scheerbart and the quest for modernist utopias.

 

In advance of these significant exhibitions, Andrea Rosen Gallery is presenting McElheny's newest body of work in his third exhibition at the gallery. Some thoughts about the abstract body explores the connections between the history of visual abstraction and clothing/fashion created by artists over the past century. McElheny uses historical examples of artistic clothing and costume design as a starting point to present his own set of models for abstract form today. A series of sculptural assemblages, ethereal wall works, and a performance with attendant sculptures or props, present a diverse library of possible forms for the expression of images of an abstract physical and psychic body. Seen together, these works propose that our conceptions of and imaginations about the body's possible shape speak to the potential liberation—or confinement—contained in a subjective and non-universal approach to visual abstraction. Throughout the exhibition, McElheny suggests that abstraction seen through the lens of the body might be a path for returning to a conversation about the radical hopes and ideals originally associated with this mode of seeing.

 

Some thoughts about the abstract body runs May 19 - June 30, 2012

 

Source - Andrea Rosen Gallery

Jack Smylie

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