OCCUPY THE EMPTY
Friday, June 11th, 6:00 - 9:00pm
Exhibition Dates: June 11 - July 10, 2010
LAST WORDS Viewing Party: Friday July 9th, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Romer Young Gallery is pleased to welcome Amanda Curreri back to the gallery for her second solo exhibition, OCCUPY THE EMPTY. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, June 11, 6-9PM
Following the inspired careers of such artists as Felix Gonzalez Torres, Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, whose work centered on the commingling of public and private spheres, and the sustained commitment to narrative, social engagement and cultural commentary, Curreri offers an exhibition that depends on the contemplation, sensitivity, and participation of its audience. OCCUPY THE EMPTY takes the courtroom, the American hallmark of democracy, and translates it to the space of the contemporary gallery.
OCCUPY THE EMPTY is born from an experience the artist had last summer in the Massachusetts courthouse where Italian-American anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, were sentenced to death in the early 20th century. The court case Curreri participated in was for her deceased father, also an Italian-American. The experience of those two weeks spent in the historical courtroom with her father’s loved ones, with lawyers, a judge, and jury shared qualities with the dramatic arts and the stage: theatrical and performative, positioning Curreri as one of the characters [dramatis personae]. Inspired by the work of radical democracy theorists Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Curreri considers the assumption that democracy is inherently available, empty to be inhabited, performed and occupied. The gallery, explicitly empty by design, becomes a tangible stage for testing ideas of personal histories, democracy and the social body.
Within OCCUPY THE EMPTY are paintings and sculptural arrangements, schematic works on paper, documentation, and an interpersonal durational piece that will come to create the portrait of the people involved in the themes of the exhibition. Working in response to ideas of community, family, history, equivalence, Curreri’s work suggests that individuals, perhaps fixed in certain roles, can become illuminated, freed, re-invented, and moved to a place where they can participate, act, and speak freely. By shifting the expected experience (spectatorship?) within the gallery, and making intimate/active the relationships within, the artist traverses the divide between public and private. In so doing, Curreri encourages the formation of a broader social movement, one where the audience of active creators becomes part of the story, sharing and ultimately helping engineer a collective transformation. The invitational gesture for viewers to play a part in the formal creation and conceptual democracy of the work is one that might come to highlight the healing qualities of art and its ability to serve as catharsis for viewers.