Four recently acquired works of art will make their CMA debut during the Museum’s Community Grand Opening, presented by PNC Arts Alive, on Sunday, October 25 celebrating the completion of the Museum’s new wing. The works, all by contemporary artists, span several artistic media including photography, painting, sound sculpture and video.
Three Screens for Looking at Abstraction, CMA’s first work by American artist Josiah McElheny, is an installation comprised of three large, faceted screens made from mirrors and translucent projection cloth. An abstract film program, is digitally projected onto each of these objects simultaneously. The films bounce off the mirrors in different directions and produce kaleidoscopic movement and sound. Film program can be changed each time the work is shown, creating an ever-changing experience. McElheny has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the Whitechapel Gallery, London, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His work can be found in the collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Tate Modern, and the Whitney Museum.
Study for Strings is the first sound sculpture in CMA’s collection and the first work the Museum has acquired by Scottish artist and Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz. Study for Strings is based on Jewish composer Pavel Haas’s 1943 work Study for Strings, written while he lived in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The music became the soundtrack for a Nazi propaganda film illustrating the “benevolent treatment” of the Jews interned there. Haas was later moved to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was killed. Study for Strings was first presented at dOCUMENTA (13), a twice-a-decade festival in Kassel, Germany. It was hailed by Gregory Volk as, “one of the most searing and entrancing artworks I’ve encountered anywhere,” and later shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The CMA installation will be experienced while walking down a birch-lined, flagstone path in the Museum’s new sculpture garden.
CMA is the first American museum to add a work by Carissa Rodriguez, artist and director of Reena Spaulings Fine Art in New York, to its collection. It’s Symptomatic/What Would Edith Say is from a series of photographs of artists’ tongues that have detailed diagnoses by Rodriguez’s acupuncturist scrawled across them in black marker. Acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) use the tongue’s appearance to diagnose overall internal health, and Rodriguez uses that connection to explore the physical demands of being an artist as well as the play between surface and depth. Rodriguez was recently featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and will have a solo exhibition at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco this winter.
The earliest work in the group, Untitled (January 12), is a significant abstract painting by modernist painter Paul Feeley. Feeley’s paintings and sculptures are characterized by bright colors and undulating forms that are often poised between representation and abstraction. Feeley held an influential position as a professor at Bennington College in Vermont, where he helped make the school an ambitious cultural outpost in the 1950s and sixties. He organized or co-organized important early exhibitions of Jackson Pollock, David Smith, and Barnett Newman, and was himself honored with a 1968 memorial retrospective at the Solomon S. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Imperfections by Chance: Paul Feeley Retrospective, 1954–1966 will be one of the inaugural exhibitions in CMA’s new wing. The exhibition was organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art. It is co-curated by Tyler Cann, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Columbus Museum of Art and Douglas Dreishpoon, Chief Curator Emeritus at the Albright-Knox.
[Photos: Top: “Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of the Infinite”, June 22 – October 14 2012, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Image courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York © Josiah McElheny. Bottom: Carissa Rodriguez, It’s Symptomatic/What Would Edith Say , 2015, Inkjet print, 152.4 x 101.6 cm (60 x 40 inch)]