November 5 - December 23, 2016
18 Wooster Street
Many artists engage with current political issues in their work, but it is the rare artist whose message transcends the art discourse and influences a wide international audience. Ai Weiwei has built on the moral authority of his work to focus attention on some of the world’s most urgent problems. Through his work, he has become one of the most important advocates of human rights.
Laundromat is an extraordinary exhibition project that addresses the current refugee crisis. The exhibition focuses on the refugee camp at Idomeni on the border of Greece and FYROM, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Ai Weiwei explains the back- ground and the concept of the exhibition in the following Q & A:
How did the refugee project begin?
The refugee project began while I was living under soft detention in Beijing. Following my arrest and secret detention in 2011, my passport was confiscated and I was prohibited from traveling outside of China. Although I could not leave the country, I was able to stay engaged globally through the Internet. I have participated in hundreds of exhibitions in absentia.
For the 56th Venice Biennale, the Ruya Foundation asked me to make a selection of drawings for a publication entitled Traces of Survival. The drawings were made by refugees living in the Shariya refugee camp in Iraq. This gave me an opportunity to get further involved and I asked to make a visit to the camp. I designed a survey and, be- cause I could not leave China, had two assistants travel to the camp. The survey asked of the refugees several basic and essential questions: Who are they? What kind of life did they have before? How did they become refugees? What did they think of their future?
In total, my assistants conducted over a hundred interviews at the Shariya camp.
In July 2015, I received my passport back from the Chinese authorities and traveled to Berlin. There, I visited some refugees who had recently arrived from Syria. I decided to become more involved. I was unfamiliar with the situation and the scope of the issue was wide enough for me to study. During Christmas, I visited the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, with my son and partner. I saw how the refugees arrived on the Greek shore, many of them women and children. The conditions at the camp were shocking.
I thought back on my own experience as a refugee. When I was born, my father, Ai Qing, was denounced as a ‘rightist’ and was criticized as an enemy of the party and the people. We were sent to a labour camp in a remote region far away from our home. We carried almost nothing with us to the camp, only trying to survive. It was an extremely difficult time being seen as a foreigner in your own nation, an enemy of your own people, an enemy of those my father loved most. I know what it is like to be viewed as a pariah, as sub-human, as a threat and danger to society.
How did you first get involved in Idomeni?
The refugees leave their homes because of the war. They are trying to escape immediate danger. They have lost their relatives. I met a young boy, only 18 or 19 years old, and he was shaking. I put my arm around him. He told me that, underneath his blanket, he had lost his right arm. I also began to shake. He’s so young and you can only imagine what he has been through, what his future will be like. That fear, even after having arrived in Europe, can still be seen in their eyes. I can imagine that fear has not dissipated, but their new reality has given them even more to worry about.
I cannot give them food or tea, or money, but rather I can let their voices be heard and recognized. I can give them a platform to be acknowledged, to testify that they are human beings. During the saddest moments in our history, mankind has had to prove their worth as humans to their own kind. Unfortunately, this has proven to be the most difficult task. As an artist, this is something I would like to take on.
I decided to follow the refugees’ path. I went to the Idomeni refugee camp. It had become a bottleneck when the flow of refugees entering Europe was completely shut off. Be- fore, the refugees would travel through Idomeni on the so-called Balkan Route to reach Europe. Once the Macedonian government closed the border, the camp swelled to over 15,000 refugees.
They stayed in the field next to the railroad tracks, living in temporary tents provided by the NGOs. They stayed there with no government assistance. The NGOs provide support for the flow of refugees, but many things are beyond their power. They cannot handle things such as registering the refugees and they have no authority to enact order. They cannot establish basic sewage or clean water systems. During my visit, it rained constantly. The Idomeni fields turned to mud. The refugees, many of them women and children, lived through these extremely difficult conditions, waiting to be handed a cold sandwich and news of what would come next. With great frustration, we couldn’t do much. I start- ed to take many photographs, to try to record the moment. The harsh reality can act as evidence and make us reflect on these conditions. This is a condition many people refuse to see, or try to distort or ignore. Many willfully believe this isn’t actually taking place. When you see so many children out of school, 263 million children worldwide, you can easily predict what our future holds.
By this point, we had already decided to make a documentary. We had several teams covering different people’s stories: a young pianist from Syria, a lady who brought her cat with her on the long journey, a family of thirty from Afghanistan, an economics student who hoped to finish his PhD in Europe but who is, today, still stuck in a Greek refugee camp. We have filmed in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Gaza, and Kenya. We will film in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Mexico. I have personally visited over twenty camps in different locations and interviewed over a hundred people including politicians, NGOs, volunteers, smugglers, gravediggers and countless refugees.
How did the concept of Laundromat come together?
When we started filming in Idomeni, the first thing we noticed was people trying to change their clothes. These are the clothes they wore from Syria, wet and soiled from the difficult journey across the ocean, over mountains and through woods. They had no chance to wash their clothes until they were forced to stop in Idomeni. They would hand wash the clothes and throw it on the border fence to dry. There was nowhere else to hang
dry their laundry. We photographed the clothes, but we did not, and could not, imagine they could later be included in an exhibition. The clothes were some of the few posses- sions they could take when they decided to leave their homes. There is not much else they could take. Off the coast of Lesbos, I found an abandoned boat drifting in the sea. Inside, I found a copy of the Bible and a baby’s bottle. You would also find small objects wash up on the shore. These objects were the most precious things a person could have, the last things they brought with them as they sought a new life.
Once the refugees were forced to evacuate to different camps from Idomeni, many of those possessions were left behind. Trucks came in and loaded these items up to take towards the landfill. I decided to see if we could buy or collect them so they would not be destroyed.
Previously, my studio collected many life jackets from the local officials in Lesbos and made an installation with them at the Berlin Konzerthaus. My team negotiated with local officials who agreed to let us have the collected material. They were aware of our presence and were supportive. With a truckload of those materials, including thousands of blankets, clothes and shoes, all impossibly dirty, we transported them to my studio in Berlin. There, we carefully washed the clothes and shoes, piece by piece. Each article of clothing was washed, dried, ironed, and then recorded. Our work was the same as that of a laundromat.
The work that will be shown at Jeffrey Deitch, let’s talk about some of the parts. You will be showing the clothes on the clothing racks in the main space. Is that the evidence of the work, evidence of what happened in Idomeni?
My work is a total work. What I do everyday, shooting documentary footage, doing research, archiving materials, that is all part of the same effort. It could be called an individual work, but it’s really part of a total effort.
One of the aspects included in the exhibition is the Allen Ginsberg poem…
Allen is an old friend of mine. He has always had a strong compassion for those in need of help. With the help of the Allen Ginsberg Project and Larry Warsh, we received Allen’s early poems and readings. I think this is the best location for New York City to experience its own poet, the son of an immigrant, reading September on Jessore Road. His voice reflected the Bangladesh refugee crisis, which he saw when he visited the West Bengal refugee camps in the 70s. It’s a very touching poem evoked by a gentle, human voice. The story it tells is the same one unfolding today, the same story from a thousand years ago and, unfortunately, one that might continue into the future.
September 17 - October 22, 2016
18 Wooster Street
Opening Saturday, September 17th from 6pm to 8pm
During the summer of 1974, only a few weeks after I began working as the all purpose assistant at the John Weber Gallery in SoHo, Walter Robinson and Edit deAk walked in with a pile of Art-Rite magazines and deposited them on the office counter. The art world was a small community in those days and the most effective distribution system for a vanguard art magazine was just to leave stacks of them on the reception desks or in the offices of the six major galleries. There was no need to send them out in the mail to subscribers or to sell them on newsstands. Almost every relevant reader would be likely to come around and pick up a copy.
Every few years there is a new art magazine that is able to position itself at the center of the dialogue around new art. In the mid 1970s, the magazine was Art-Rite, printed on the cheapest possible newsprint and edited by Walter and Edit and their friends in their Wooster Street communal loft. Art-Rite had no veneer of intellectual snobbery. Artists, writers and hangers on were welcome to drop in to the Art-Rite loft almost any time of day or night. You could always enter an interesting conversation, some of which were transformed into texts for the magazine.
The conversation with Walter Robinson that began when he and Edit dropped off the stack of Art-Rites continues to this day, more than forty years later. My first art critical essay, on the work of my first real artist friend, Christopher D’Arcangelo, was written for Art-Rite but unfortunately it never ran in the magazine because Carl Andre, who Chris and I looked up to as our art guru, insisted that it was problematic. (Luckily I kept a copy and it was finally published to some acclaim several years ago.) Walter and I kept the dialogue going through the Times Square Show in 1980, during his early exhibitions at Metro Pictures, and most recently during my Unrealism exhibition in Miami where for many of the visitors, Walter was the major re-discovery.
Walter has been at the center of the art discourse through Art-Rite, his pioneering art work, and his many years of astute commentary in Art in America, Art Net and on his legendary underground TV show with Paul H-O, Gallery Beat. When I found out that Barry Blinderman had not been able to find a New York venue for his Walter Robinson retrospective exhibition, I volunteered that this would be the ideal project to inaugurate my return to my Wooster Street gallery. I am very pleased to host this lively exhibition that documents Walter’s exceptional artistic achievements. Walter painted Nurse Paintings before Richard Prince and Spin Paintings before Damien Hirst. He has long been at the center of the art community but his modest manner and his disdain for aggressive careerism have left his work less recognized than it should be. I am looking forward to presenting this sensitively curated overview of Walter’s work to the New York art community.
-- Jeffrey Deitch
May 5 - June 4, 2016
76 Grand Street
“How did these get here!?” I was shocked to see a pile of stickers on my gallery reception desk in the Spring of 1996 with the outrageously provocative phrase “Nuke the Swiss” printed above a red cross. “They were left there by that funny guy who comes in here all the time,” my staff explained. A few weeks later, I was there when the culprit walked in, smirking as he handed me a fresh stack of Nuke the Swiss stickers. His engaging manner somehow neutralized the egregious content of his free art. This was my first introduction to Tom Sachs, who twenty years later, still visits during his walks around the neighborhood, and who continues to perfect his fusion of radical conceptual performance, Modernist idealism, bricolage and provocation.
Tom and I have discussed presenting his work in my gallery since 1996, but it took twenty years to realize an exhibition. There were several false starts. In the late 1990s, Tom amused himself by setting up a contest between three art dealers who were keen to show his work, Angela Westwater, Mary Boone, and myself. He even published a zine about the “competition.” He decided that Mary Boone was the winner and rewarded her with a solo show. I opened my copy of The New York Times on September 30, 1999 to see the astonishing headline, “Art Dealer Arrested for Exhibition of Live Ammunition.” Tom had placed a vase full of live 9-millimeter cartridges on Mary Boone’s reception desk for visitors to take home as souvenirs. Mary was hauled off to jail for unlawful distribution of ammunition and resisting arrest. She was also charged with possession of unlawful weapons and possession of stolen property for another piece in the show, which featured homemade guns. I was lucky to have dodged a bullet. There was much more water under the bridge, but I will save those stories for my memoirs.
Last year Tom called to invite me for a tea ceremony. He had transformed a section of his wunderkammer studio into a subversion of a Japanese tea house, constructed with Con Edison excavation barriers and Blue Foam instead of rice paper and bamboo. I was deeply entranced in Tom’s remix of the tea ceremony when he stunned me by lifting the lid of a lacquer box that I assumed would contain an exquisite tea biscuit. Instead of a biscuit, it was perfectly measured line of cocaine. The ceremony was confounding, but the taste of the carefully sourced matcha was transporting.
Some months later Tom told me the good news that his entire tea house along with its extensive Japanese garden and his bronze bonsai tree (made from 3,500 casts of Q-tips, tampon cases, tooth brushes, and enema nozzles) would be the focus of a major exhibition at the Noguchi Museum. In addition, his Boom Box retrospective, which had been enthusiastically received in Austin, would be coming to the Brooklyn Museum. Tom suggested that maybe now was the time to present the gallery show that we had been discussing for twenty years.
Tom’s proposal for our gallery show was Nuggets, a presentation of his Sachsified versions of Modernist masterpieces. The doorbell to Tom’s Center Street studio is marked “Brancusi.” Appropriately, the major work in the exhibition is Tom’s response to Brancusi’s Le Coq, perfectly crafted from plywood, resin and sheet metal screws, rather than marble. In Michel Gondry’s film Be Kind Rewind, the protagonists, video store clerks played by Jack Black and Mos Def, remake their favorite movies in the vacant lot behind the shop after they have inadvertently erased the store’s inventory. Their “sweeded” versions of movies become more popular with their customers than the originals. In his way, Tom has been “sweeding” the icons of modern art and consumer culture his whole career. We will find out whether the audience prefers Tom’s reboot of Brancusi to the real thing.
There is an aesthetic equivalence in Tom’s world between icons of modern art and icons of contemporary consumer culture. Tom’s sculpture of a laundry basket, meticulously crafted out of plywood and resin is mounted on a museum pedestal with the same reverence as his Brancusi. He worships the brilliantly efficient design of the lowly cinder block as much as he admires a stacked sculpture by Donald Judd. My favorite “Nugget” is Tom’s astonishing and functioning exact size reconstruction of a photocopy machine, perhaps the true icon of Post Modernism. Tom’s work embodies a contradiction at the core of his unique aesthetic: his veneration of the purity of modern art and industrial design and his love of bricolage and handicraft. His works are fabricated with the combination of industrial rigor and hand made artistry that have become his trademark.
The works in Nuggets span the spectrum of Tom’s artistic, cultural and sociological interests, from Brancusi to McDonald’s. Among the resonant works are his Kelly Bag in plywood, canvas, steel, resin, latex and nylon and his plywood, latex, and epoxy milk crate, with steel hardware, his homage to a masterpiece of modern design. There is also Nutritional Facts, a giant wood burned chart of the nutritional content of the full McDonald’s menu. The works are presented on pedestals like rare tribal sculpture in the Metropolitan’s Michael Rockefeller Wing.
Tom Sachs is one of the rare artists who does not just create works of art, he has constructed an entire aesthetic world. His studio is a bricoleur’s dream factory, itself one of his greatest art works. From his distinctive handwriting, to his influential films, Tom is always making art. Tom Sachs’ official biography articulates his unique approach to his work:
SACHS is a sculptor, probably best known for his elaborate dubversions of various Modern icons, all of them masterpieces of engineering and design of one kind or another. A lot has been made of the conceptual underpinnings of these sculptures: how Sachs samples capitalist culture: remixing, dubbing and spitting it back out again, so that the results are transformed and transforming. Equally, if not more important, is his total embrace of "showing his work." All the steps that led up to the end result are always on display. This means that nothing Sachs makes is ever finished. Like any good engineering project, everything can always be stripped down, stripped out, redesigned and improved. The reward for work is more work.
Presented by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch
The Moore Building, Miami Design District
191 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL
Wednesday, December 2–Sunday, December 6, 2015
Opening reception: Tuesday, December 1st, from 5:00 to 8:00pm
“King of Arms,” a procession and performance by Rashaad Newsome, will pass through the Design District at 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch Collaborate to Present an Exhibition of New Figurative Painting and Sculpture in the Miami Design District
UNREALISM celebrates the recent revival of interest in figurative painting and sculpture. The exhibition features the work of more than fifty of the most original and compelling artists working in figuration from the 1980s to the present. The title points to the challenge of portraying contemporary reality where the real is often confused with the unreal.
Figuration is one of the oldest art forms, but it is continually evolving, reflecting contemporary concepts of human identity. Figurative art responds to technical innovations like printing, photography and digital reproduction, but the ancient craft of rendering the figure renews itself with each subsequent generation. The artists featured in UNREALISM work within the figurative canon without becoming academic. They are able to make a venerable tradition in art completely of our time.
November 7, 2015 - December 21, 2015
76 Grand Street
Jeffrey Deitch and Suzanne Geiss are pleased to present Bombs and Dogs, an exhibition of large-scale drawings, tarps and objects that trace the development of Keith Haring’s iconic visual language focusing on works from 1980 - 1984.
Haring’s work achieved a remarkable fusion of the rhythmic all over structure associated with Abstract Expressionism, the iconic figuration associated with Pop Art and the energy of the New York City Streets.
October 20, 2015 - October 31, 2015
76 Grand Street
Jeffrey Deitch presents
The Wolfpack Show
Artwork by "The Angulo Brothers" from their home archives
Premiere of their first original short film "Window Feel"
Photographs by Dan Martensen
Jeffrey Deitch, Nicole Klagsbrun and The Cameron Parsons Foundation Present
Cinderella of the Wastelands
SEPTEMBER 8, 9, &10, 2016
PERFORMANCES AT 7 PM
18 WOOSTER STREET
Jeffrey Deitch is pleased to announce the re-opening of his Wooster Street gallery with three evenings of performance by Eddie Peake. Eddie Peake’s work fuses painting, sculpture, and musical and dance performance. He creates an artistic experience that builds on the history of these media to make a completely contemporary statement. Inspired by Eddie Peake’s commission for Performa hosted by the Swiss Institute in the Wooster Street space in November 2013, Jeffrey Deitch invited Eddie Peake to inaugurate his new program.
Peake’s new work builds on a series of performances created over the last few years for numerous galleries and spaces, including Tate Modern, London (2012), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012) and Performa, New York (2013). Articulating the complex strains of intimacy that develop between people, Eddie Peake has developed a gallery-based performance in which the relationships between an ensemble are made palpable through a series of choreographed gestures and interactions. Developing his work in collaboration with his performers, Peake creates episodic performances in which bodies might switch between being seen as sculptural objects or complex human subjects, and in which emotions such as desire, jealousy, shame or power are played out using surreal or unexpected signifiers such as colored body paints or animal costumes. Featuring original, devised musical compositions, this performance slowly builds in energy, taking surprising twists and turns, and treading a fine line between displaying bodies in order to invite casual voyeurism and working with them to initiate more direct forms of address.
Born in London in 1981, Eddie Peake graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2006, undertook a residency at the British School at Rome from 2008 to 2009, and in 2013 graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, London. Performance projects include The David Roberts Art Foundation (2012), The Tanks, Tate Modern (2012) Chisenhale Gallery (2012); The Royal Academy of Arts (2012), Cell Project Space (2012), Performa 13 (2013), Palais de Tokyo (2015) and most recently Eastside Projects (2016) and Tenuta Dello Scompiglio (2016). International solo exhibitions include Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome (2015) Peres Projects, Berlin (2014) Southard Reid, London (2012) (with Prem Sahib), Focal Point Gallery, Southend (2013) and White Cube Sao Paulo (2013). Peake’s recent exhibition in the Barbican’s Curve Gallery, The Forever Loop (2016), was his largest and most ambitious to date.
Made in collaboration with Eric Berey, Ann Chiaverini, Emma Fisher, Tim Goalen, Gwilym Gold, Gareth Mole, Alexis Nuñez and Paolo Rosini.
Eddie Peake has an upcoming solo exhibition at White Cube, Hong Kong opening 24th November 2016.
Capacity is limited. To reserve your place, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Presented by Thor Equities and curated by Jeffrey Deitch and Joseph J. Sitt, Coney Art Walls is an outdoor museum of street art featuring the work of 34 celebrated artists including legends such as Lady Pink, Crash, Daze, John Ahearn and Mister Cartoon, leading artists of the new generation including How and Nosm, Pose and D*Face, and major artists not usually associated with street art but known for ambitious public murals, Jessica Diamond, Nina Chanel Abney and Sam Vernon.
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
18 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
Open Tuesday – Saturday
12 – 6 PM
+1 (212) 343-7300
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