D’Amelio Terras, New York
July 13 – August 11, 2006
Fountains is an exhibition of works by emerging artists who use strategies associated with the readymade. It includes works by Sanford Biggers, Carol Bove, Anne Collier, Jonah Freeman, Daniel Lefcourt, Michael Phelan, Noah Sheldon, Gibb Slife and Michael Vahrenwald.
The title references Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) which has been referred to as the most influential work of the Twentieth Century. Ninety years after its conception, artists continue to re-interpret as well as build on strategies of re-contextualization and displacement.
With a certain self-effacing attitude, the focus of the works is less on authorship and more on the relationships these works negotiate with the world as an endless supply of artifacts- both strange and familiar, opaque and symbolic (books in Carol Bove’s shelf arrangements, magazines in Anne Collier’s photograph, objects represented in isometric perspective in Daniel Lefcourt’s photographic riddle). What was once the expression of individual aspiration by a decisive author is now diluted in works that question the possibility of originality itself (Michael Phelan’s tie dye commissioned target paintings, Michael Vahrenwald’s photographs of commercial therapeutic light boxes bearing new age brand names, or Sanford Biggers silent video of the reflection of a disco ball on the wall).
Several pieces make reference to places of social consensus and gathering (Jonah Freeman’s sculptural environment which evokes mall architecture and city planning, Noah Sheldon’s sound piece recorded in a casino, or Gibb Slife’s sculpture which captures channel 13 through an ivy like antennae attached to an old TV). The tradition of the readymade has extended beyond sculpture, the medium traditionally associated with the concept, to inform conceptual strategies in photography, painting, video, and sound.