Searching the Sky for Rain
Dutch artists Becket MWN and Riet Wijnen will be featured in the exhibition “Searching in the Sky for Rain” that will be on display from September 16, 2019 – December 16, 2019 at Sculpture Center in New York.
This exhibition brings together works by artists who disregard the ways in which the art industry regulates, classifies, compartmentalizes, and essentializes difference into sanctioned categories. The artists in Searching the Sky for Rain defy the fracking of particularities into niche- marketed, T-shirt formulations of “identities” for institutional meaning and value production. These exploitative processes administer domination, forcing heterogeneity into operational packages for the stylization of a lukewarm cosmopolitanism.
The resulting rhetorical conflation of the maker and the work has led some producers to contend for the most bona fide representation in a highly competitive field where “authenticity” is rewarded as the primary source of value. While the proclaimed dominant position enjoys a hotline to abstract and structural thinking, others are often accorded only bare biography or story-time “feels” in the critical consideration and institutional presentation of their work. The question raised by Searching the Sky for Rain is: who has the right to abstraction? This question is neither a “theme” nor is necessarily the main concern of the included works, but it is at times one of their many components, or is indicative of a discursive ambivalence toward the worn-out framing devices that are formulated by the industry.
Against the backdrop of today’s hyper-expressionism, which in the absence of reflexivity poses the “self” as a coordinate with direct access to “truth,” the works in this exhibition advance the subject’s inherent non-sovereignty and unlocatability. As a character in Becket MWN’s audio work Paranoid House puts it, “anytime individuality is institutionally mandated it becomes a performance.”
Using various methodologies and strategies, the artists in the exhibition resist prescribing or following readily available image templates, relinquishing the pop-up politics of instant visibility. In Tony Cokes’ video Evil.27.Selma, we read how the pre-television civil rights movement prompted a “social collectivity heavily dependent on the imagination” that created abundance of “fantasy what-if” scenarios. The artists in Searching the Sky for Rain rally for such not-yet-articulated aesthetics.
The exhibition is curated by Sohrab Mohebbi, Curator, with Kyle Dancewicz, Director of Exhibitions and Programs.
The exhibition includes work by: Carmen Argote, Tony Cokes, Rafael Domenech, Mandy El-Sayegh, Charles Gaines, ektor garcia, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Tishan Hsu, Rindon Johnson, Becket MWN, Shahryar Nashat, Michael Queenland, Johanna Unzueta, Jala Wahid, Eric Wesley, and Riet Wijnen.
Find more information on admission and opening hours here.
About Riet Wijnen
Riet Wijnen (1988, Venray, the Netherlands) is an artist based in Amsterdam who works mostly in the media of photography, sculptures, video, and text writing. In her work, she explores links between abstraction, perception, language, and structures through the historiography of abstraction in different fields: starting with early modernism in art and slowly moving towards science, philosophy and activism. This research comes together in the cycle Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction which Wijnen started in 2015. She also publishes books and cahiers, such as Homophone Dictionary (2019, forthcoming), Grace Crowley(2019, forthcoming), Marlow Moss (2013) and Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif (reprint and translation) (2014), Conversation One: A Preface (2015), Conversation Four: First Person Moving (2016), Conversation Six: Double (2018) and is working on The Registry of Pseudonyms, an on-going accumulation of pseudonyms on the website registryofpseudonyms.com. These books and the website are an integral part of Wijnen's practice, function independently, as sources and works at the same time.
September 17 – Riet Wijnen. Conversation Six: Double Lines
Riet Wijnen’s Conversation Six: Double-Lines is a fictional dialogue centered around British Constructivist Marlow Moss (1889—1958) and Australian artist and pioneer of modernist painting Grace Crowley (1890—1979), featuring a third character, Pauline Oliveros (1932—2016), the American experimental composer, pioneer of electronic music, and humanitarian. Focusing on the lives of key female figures, Conversation Six: Double-Lines antagonizes how abstraction as an art movement, starting in the 1920s, is canonized in western art history. This work is part of Wijnen’s larger Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction, a cycle of text-based and sculptural works initiated in 2015. Conversation Six: Double-Lines will be read by Riet Wijnen and Rindon Johnson, both included inSearching the Sky for Rain.