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Image credit: Matt Greco & Gregory Sholette, Workers Housing Saadiyat Island: Guggenheim Museum Souvenir

WORK IT OUT

October 24 – December 21, 2014

Curated by Eric Heist

Artists: Peter Fend, Matt Greco & Gregory Sholette, Huong Ngo & Hong-An Truong, Nsumi Collective, Occupy Museums (Noah Fischer, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Tal Beery, Kenneth Pietrobono, and Arthur Polendo), Mierle Laderman Ukeles

 

<Opening reception> Friday, October 24, 7-9pm

 

<Public event> Creative Extraction: Why are Art Schools at the Vanguard of Unreasonable Debt Burdens? A conversation with Coco Fusco, organized by Occupy Museums:

Friday, December 5, 2014, 6-9 pm

 

<Panel discussion> The Artist in the Age of Market Reproduction

Moderator: Richard Rehun

Tuesday, December 9, 7-9pm

If idle Mastery is an impasse, laborious Slavery, in contrast, is the source of all human, social, historical progress.

-Alexandere Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel

 

Momenta Art is pleased to present WORK IT OUT, a group exhibition that investigates the links between labor, actualization and transformation from multiple perspectives. As Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ Manifesto was intended as a rejection of “progress” as a principle of capitalism, the Enlightenment idea of “progress” has long become objectionable in the leftist intellectual landscape. Nevertheless, the works in this exhibition resonate with, contradict, and deviate from Kojève’s interpretation of dialectic and “progress”.

 

Occupy Museums’ Debt Fair and Matthew Greco & Gregory Sholette’s shop-dropped museum souvenirs imitate the system they criticize and intend to transform as if injecting the poison that cures. Mierle Laderman Ukeles also utilizes the avant-garde’s typical tactics of manifest and nominating what was not art as art in order to refute the avant-garde convention itself. Peter Fend proposes a quasi-scientific alternative energy plan through the recycling of otherwise wasted materials. Huong Ngo & Hong-An Truong use personal archives and public narratives to examine the historical invisibility of the labor conditions of refugee women. Nsumi Collective initiates a series of visual and social interventions, titled Oubliettes, aimed at the abolition of the MDC Brooklyn detention in Sunset Park, Brooklyn through community mobilization and interventions inspired by Situationist/Dadaist tactics. A schedule of off-site events in Sunset Park will be announced during the exhibition.

 

By conflating dichotomies defining labor/Work, process/finished work and necessity/pleasure, the works in this exhibition propose utopian actualization of the alternative visions. Some of the artists in this exhibition consciously align themselves with whom they “Work” to represent, such as workers, artists with debt, refugee women and prisoners. Through the consumption of and participation with these “Works,” how do we, as viewers/participants/co-producers, transform ourselves?

 

The exhibition is accompanied with an event organized by Occupy Museums on December 5th. Inviting Coco Fusco, the event sheds a light on the interrelation between student debts, increasingly precarious labor condition of teachers/university faculty, and global practices of labor exploitation, predatory lending and the privatization of culture.

 

(Text written by Kikuko Tanaka.)

Peter Fend is an American artist born in 1950. In 1980, he founded Offices and the Ocean Earth Construction and Development Corporation with Colen Fitzgibbon, Jenny Holzer, Peter Nadin, Richard Prince and Robin Winters, which was "a corporation invented for a group of artists". In 1994, the organization changed its name to Ocean Earth. The New York Times has called his work "A blend of Conceptual art, activism and entrepreneurship, it proposed tackling environmental problems through an application of art-as-design.

 

Matthew Greco is a sculptor, photographer and designer living and working in Queens NY. His work has been exhibited at the Telfair Museum of Art (GA), Desoto Row Gallery (GA), The Dorsky Gallery (NY), The NY Studio Gallery (NY), Gallery 126 (Ireland), The Beacon Gallery (CA), and The Baron Gallery (OH).  He is head of the Digital Imaging Laboratory at Queens College.

 

Huong Ngo is an artist and educator based in Paris and New York. She is part of the collective Fantastic Futures which has been supported by the New Museum, NY (2012); Rhizome, NY (2011); Eyebeam, NY (2013); iLAND, NY (2013); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF (2013); and Culture Push, NY (2013). Her individual and collaborative work has also been presented through Triple Canopy and MoMA PS 1, NY (2013); Vox Populi, PA (2013); EFA Project Space, NY (2011); The Kitchen, NY (2011); Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI (2009); LMCC, NY (2006); National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic (2005); and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL (2004). Ngo received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in Studio Art in 2012. She has taught at the MoMA, Pratt Institute, Trade School, and Parsons The New School for Design. She currently co-organizes an artist lecture series through Union des Jeunes Vietnamiens de France, hosted by WoMA, Paris.

 

Hong-An Truong is an artist and writer based in New York and North Carolina. Recent experimental collaborations include The Gramsci Project with students at Laguardia Community College, and Acting the Words is Enacting the Worlds with Huong Ngo and participants at EFA Project Space. Her video, photography, and performance-based work has also been shown at the International Center for Photography, Art in General, Parson’s Aronson Gallery, BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Smack Mellon, New York; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monte Vista Projects, and the Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles; PAVILION, Bucharest; and DobaeBacsa Gallery, Seoul, and Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside among others. She is a 2013 recipient of an Art Matters Grant, a Franconia Sculpture Park Jerome Fellowship (MN), and a Socrates Sculpture Park EAF (NY). Truong received her MFA at the University of California, Irvine and was a studio art fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program. She is an Asst. Professor in the Art Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

 

Nsumi is an experimental art collective, active since 2002. Our work focuses on collective intelligence and emerging forms of grassroots, collective organization. Recent projects explore formal decentralization and politically-engaged art, in the form of trainings, workshops, think tanks, curricula, and street actions. Nsumi's membership is fluid, expanding and contracting as needed, morphing into other groups or spawning new offshoot collectives or networks, openly or clandestinely, for short or long durations, responsive to and in relation with our environment. Nsumi’s common interest is exploring the creative capacity of social networks and experimental groups. We produce and participate in exhibitions and events, and conduct research on public art, fine arts pedagogy and emerging collaborative practices. Nsumi creates collaborative artwork combining planning and architecture, social engagement, and systems design.

 

Occupy Museums was initiated from the Occupy Wall Street Arts and Culture working Group in Liberty Park by artist Noah Fischer's manifesto of October 19, 2011. After the first action at Museum of Modern Art, it quickly became a working group which has included many people at different times including Jolanta Gora-Witta, Max Liboroirn, Maraya Lopez, Alexandre Carvalho, Blithe Riley, Andrea Liu, Maria Byck, Ben Laude, Cari Machet, Jim Costanzo, Nitasha Dhillon, Joulia Strauss, and Maureen Connor among many others. The core members are  Tal Beery, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Noah Fischer, and Arthur Polendo. They have also collaborated and overlapped with many other groups including G.U.L.F, the Novads, Winter Holiday Camp, Arts and Labor, Occupy the Pipeline, and artists including Kenneth Pietrobono, the Aaron Burr Society, Artur Zmijewski, Maureen Connor, Julia Strauss, Pawel Althamer, and William Powhida.

 

Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist and writer whose recent art projects include “Our Barricades” at Station Independent Gallery, and “Imaginary Archive” at Las Kurbas Center, Kyiv, Ukraine, and whose recent publications include “It's The Political Economy, Stupid,” co-edited with Oliver Ressler, (Pluto Press, 2013) and “Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture,” (Pluto Press, 2011). A graduate of the Whitney Independent Studies Program in Critical Theory (1996), he received his MFA from the University of San Diego (1995), and BFA from The Cooper Union (1979), and served as a Board Member of the College Art Association (1999-2004). Sholette was a founding member of the artists' collectives Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000), remaining active today with Gulf Labor Coalition http://gulflabor.org/ as well as serving on the Curriculum Committee of Home WorkSpace Beirut, Lebanon. Associate Faculty for the Art, Design and the Public Domain program of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, he is an Associate Professor in the Queens College CUNY Art Department where he co-developed and teaches in its new MFA concentration: Social Practice Queens http://www.socialpracticequeens.org/

 

Mierle Laderman Ukeles has created art works over the past four decades revealing our unlimited powers of transformation—from changing degraded identities of service workers to the restoration of ravaged landscapes.  Her public works seek to provoke, explode, or even play with and integrate the boundaries between necessity and freedom:  always raising the questions: “Is this work necessary?” then, “What does this work do to one’s freedom?”  For the past 37 years, she has been the official unsalaried Artist In Residence at the NYC Department of Sanitation, a position she still holds.  Currently she is creating LANDING, the first permanent Percent for Art work for Freshkills Park in NYC. Ukeles works in a variety of mediums, creating installations, performances, permanent public art, media works and teaching. She has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the NY State Council on the Arts as well as the Guggenheim, Warhol, Joan Mitchell, and Anonymous Was a Woman Foundations.  She is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.

DOCUMENTATION