SEVEN-ish, Seriously Funny at The Boiler
Participating artists / galleries:
JEN CATRON & PAUL OUTLAW (Postmasters) • GARY PANTER (Fredericks & Freiser) • SHANNON PLUMB (PIEROGI) • DAVID SHRIGLEY (Anton Kern Gallery) • MICHAEL SMITH (Greene Naftali) • MARTHA WILSON (P•P•O•W)
The Boiler was pleased to announce the fifth edition of SEVEN in Brooklyn, a collaborative exhibition at The BOILER including seven galleries, each presenting work by one artist. The theme of SEVEN- ish, Seriously Funny, is humor in art and taking humor seriously. The exhibition will run from April 29th through May 22nd, 2016, with an opening reception on Friday, April 29th, 6–9pm. There will be a live performance during the opening reception at 8pm by special guest Sean J. Patrick Carney of Bruce High Quality Foundation University.
First you laugh. Then you wonder why. This is the one-two punch of humor in art today, where laughter is nervous but never cheap, and comic turns are but the gateway to a world of doubt. Indeed, funny art comes so loaded with piercing ironies, sudden surrealities, and deadpan expressions of horror or grief that we cannot be sure if it is even okay to laugh. —Linda Yablonsky
It is OK to laugh.
Remember, the jester was the only one who could speak hard truths to the king. But lately the courtiers of art have been very serious. There seems to be a critical consensus that humor in art does not get you very far. The extraordinary recent show of Fischli and Weiss at the Guggenheim delivered major existential truths, and yet was mostly considered merely funny. Like John Oliver’s hilarious essays about real issues that are often deeper and better researched than standard news broadcasts, the veil of humor enveloping reality can be employed to stunning effects. It can deliver wisdom and revelation. For many artists the lure of humor, irony, satire, goofiness, and sarcasm is irresistible.
SEVEN-ish will present the jokers, the tricksters, the comedians, the cartoonists, and the just very, very funny serious artists.
Even the gods love jokes. – Plato
If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide. – Mahatma Gandhi
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. – George Carlin
Launched in Miami in 2010 as an art fair alternative by seven galleries from New York and London, SEVEN is a unique initiative committed to presenting artworks on their own terms and providing an intimate, personal way to engage the viewer. An emphasis on cooperation rather than competition is a founding principle of SEVEN that puts the art viewing experience ahead of other considerations. Since its inception, SEVEN has evolved by inviting new galleries and guests in both independent and institutional locations. Participating galleries in this edition of SEVEN are Anton Kern Gallery, Fredericks & Freiser, Greene Naftali, PIEROGI, Postmasters, P•P•O•W, and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, with a live performance at the opening reception by special guest Sean J. Patrick Carney of Bruce High Quality Foundation and University. This edition of SEVEN is organized by PIEROGI and Postmasters.
ELEANOR ANTIN (Ronald Feldman Fine Arts)
Eleanor Antin (b. 1935, NYC) studied acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for the Stage, New York and creative writing at the City College of New York in the mid-1950s. Antin started her career as a painter and got into contact with Fluxus art in the early 1960s in New York. She didn’t want to become a member of Fluxus, but attended their activities and exhibitions and shared its anarchic attitude. Since then, Antin started to work in film, video, photography, and performance. She moved to Southern California in 1969 and has been a Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego since 1975. Antin has a long career as a feminist performance and multimedia artist. She portrayed herself in various characters as a king, ballerina, or nurse, completed large-scale photographic works based on Greek and Roman History and Mythology. Her work includes multiple facets, like the role of women in society, issues of identity and history, whether of ancient Rome, the Crimean War or her own Jewish heritage and Yiddish culture. She has had numerous exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and has also had a major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1999. In 2007, she participated in Documenta 12.
SEAN J. PATRICK CARNEY (Special Guest: BHQFU)
Sean J. Patrick Carney (b. 1982, Michigan) is a visual artist, writer and comedian based in Brooklyn, NY. For the opening night of SEVEN-ish he will present John Doe Has the Upper Hand, a site-specific, multimedia comedy performance. Movies like The Boiler Room and Seven will naturally be addressed. Carney is the founder of Social Malpractice Publishing and a member of the Bruce High Quality Foundation University. His writings appear frequently in Art in America and VICE.
JEN CATRON & PAUL OUTLAW (Postmasters)
Catron (b. 1984, Illinois) and Outlaw (b. 1980, Alabama) create elaborate multimedia installations that take the experience economy to the next level. “Anyone who’s seen their work, has zero chance of forgetting it” (ArtFCity). For SEVEN-ish Catron and Outlaw have created Spaghetti Machine Monument, an ultimate monument of 2016, marking a momentous year (so far) in humanity's collective achievements in politics, social justice, and art. Monumental art has long had a history of recognizing personal and cumulative accomplishments and after deep reflection of our cultural and spiritual achievements, the artists have responded with the creation of an absurd continuous machine for tossing oversized spaghetti. Yeah. This Brooklyn-based duo has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NY Mag, Vogue, Art in America and online publications such as Paper Mag, Art21, artnet, Blouin Artinfo, Hyperallergic, Art F City, Flavorwire, Gothamist, and Huffington Post. They also have been featured on Chopped and Eat Street TV of the Food Network.
GARY PANTER (Fredericks & Freiser)
Fredericks & Freiser will present two paintings by Gary Panter (b. 1950, Oklahoma), which depict an array of loony (to use Panter’s term) characters in uncanny fields of abstraction. Monsters, superheroes, and sailors partake in actions suggesting a goofy narrative, though Panter is sure not to reveal their intent, and to leave all questions unanswered. Panter, known in underground and alternative art scenes in both Los Angeles and New York since the seventies, has never let his ties to comics, music, and mythical humor stray from his work. His recent works simultaneously employ his signature cartoon-like drawing style and investigate formal implications in abstract painting with psychedelic and often absurd space and color. Panter’s work has been exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT), Printed Matter (NY, NY), the Phoenix Museum of Art (Phoenix, AZ), and the Jewish Museum (NY, NY) among others, and his work was included in the Fifth International Site Santa Fe Biennial, curated by Robert Storr. He has authored numerous graphic novels, and has been represented by Fredericks & Freiser since 2011.
SHANNON PLUMB (PIEROGI)
Shannon Plumb's (b. 1970, New York) cinematic studies of life's various roles and characters explore the complexities embedded in the ordinary and extraordinary. From the humble persona of a new mother to iconic figures from the silver screen, Plumb portrays these characters with zest and humor. Inspired by the curious spirit of slapstick comedy and the physical humor of silent film legends such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Plumb employs a low-fi aesthetic by using Super-8 film, stationary camera shots, long takes and hand-made props and costumes. Plumb is a one-woman show starring as all characters and acting as the creative force behind her films. The low quality production of the films and her elastic expressiveness as an actress adds to the charm of her work and pushes it beyond its obvious predecessors and influences.
Plumb lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her videos and films have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, The IFC Center, The Kitchen (all NY, NY), the Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT), the Berlin Film Festival (Berlin), BFI Nation Film Theatre (London), and The Academia Gallery of the National Art Academy (Sofia, Bulgaria), among others. Her work is included in the Olbricht Collection (Berlin) and the Museum of Modern Art (NY, NY) permanent collections. Her feature film Towheads was screened at New Directors at MoMA and Lincoln Center and Independent Film Festival Rotterdam.
DAVID SHRIGLEY (Anton Kern Gallery)
David Shrigley (b. 1968, UK) is an artist based in Brighton, UK. Shrigley’s conceptual, idea-based art is a never-ending stream of curious propositions and eccentric moral dilemmas. With acerbic humor and strangely profound insights, the artist lays bare the ambiguities, comedy and pathos of everyday life. According to the artist, most aspects of life have the potential to be "ridiculous, absurd, awkward, funny and meaningless all at once.” His work has been widely exhibited internationally, including recent solo exhibitions at Two Rooms Gallery (Auckland, New Zealand), The National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia), and The Hayward Gallery (London). Shrigley was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013 and received the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth commission, a public-art project to be realized in 2016. His work has been reviewed in BLOUIN Artinfo, Art in America, Time Out New York, The New Yorker, and The Guardian, among others.
MICHAEL SMITH (Greene Naftali)
Michael Smith (b. 1951, Chicago, IL) first performed publicly in his own studio in 1975, which he called Comedy Hour. Educated in painting, Smith found himself more interested in entertaining than in image- making or the avant-garde happenings surrounding him, and so began his extensive video, installation, and collaborative practice, often portrayed through his naïve characters, such as “Mike” and “Baby Ikki.” Smith continuously fuses commentary on the art world and challenges that plague the quintessential Everyman, such as failure, loneliness, and losing your wallet. Smith’s videos tend to document, with awkward hilarity, his characters’ inability to perform familiar tasks or to simply get by.
Smith’s work has been exhibited extensively in the US and internationally, including exhibitions and performances at The Tate Modern (London), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Museum, The Museum
of Modern Art (all NY, NY), The Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), as well as the 2008 Whitney Biennial (NY, NY). Smith has received numerous awards including the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships.
MARTHA WILSON (P•P•O•W)
Since the early 1970s, Martha Wilson (b. 1947) has created conceptually based performances, videos, and photo/text compositions that grapple with constructions and manifestations of feminism, identity, and the way we construct and present ourselves. Frequently taking herself as subject, Wilson creates transgressive, avant-garde works that address political and social issues, teasing out complexity and nuance by infusing her work with playful gestures and humorous juxtapositions. Presenting a new body of work, which draws a clear line to her work from the 70’s through today, her work and attitude has evolved from what Wilson describes as “the concerns of a young woman to having fun with being an old lady,” and sees her turning an eye to the way in which the public gaze projects social values onto women as they grow older. “I’m looking at age and the status of women,” Wilson says, “but we are still in the same absurd state that we were in in the 70s... This is my current response to the predicament that we find ourselves in when born female.” As Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., Wilson was described by The New York Times critic Holland Cotter in 2008 as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.” In 2008, she had her first solo exhibition in New York at Mitchell Algus Gallery, Martha Wilson: Photo/Text Works, 1971-74. In 2009, Martha Wilson: Staging the Self traveled under the Independent Curators International; and in 2011, ICI published the Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces. Martha Wilson joined P.P.O.W Gallery in 2011 and mounted a solo exhibition, I have become my own worst fear, that September. Her second solo exhibition at P.P.O.W, Mona/Marcel/Marge, opened in October of 2015.
SEVEN-ish, Seriously Funny is on view at Seven at The Boiler until May 22, 2016 at 191 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Thumbnail image: ©MARTHA WILSON, Bear in Mind/Bare in Hind, 2014, C-Print face mounted to plexi, 48 x 96 inches overall / Courtesy P•P•O•W