Courtesy of Bellwether Gallery
Vanessa Albury, Tanyth Berkeley & Todd Chandler, Tammy Rae Carland, Patricia Cronin, Amrita Das, Leela Devi, Rob Hauschild, Paa Joe, Joss paper effigies, Roy Kortick, Lisa Ross, Victorian hair wreaths, Marc Swanson & Joe Mama-Nitzberg
Curated by Becky Smith
If Love Could Have Saved You, You Would Have Lived Forever is an exhibition of art and objects that reference the aesthetics, material culture, and traditional gestures surrounding death and remembrance.
On view is Vanessa Albury’s Funeral (Projection), in which a darkened room is filled with a single-slide projection of a still image taken by Albury at her grandmother’s funeral. Tanyth Berkeley and Todd Chandler will present a video made in memory of their friend Brad Will, an anarchist and documentary filmmaker who was shot and killed during a teacher’s strike in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006.
Tammy Rae Carland has photographed a range of idiosyncratic items taken from her childhood home after the death of her mother, creating a poignant portrait through quotidian objects. Patricia Cronin will exhibit a bronze sculpture from her Memorial to a Marriage Series, in which she created a grave marker for the Woodlawn Cemetery plot she has reserved for herself and her partner Deborah Kass.
Ghanaian fantasy coffins are constructed in shapes that reflect the lives, careers, and aspirations of their inhabitants – cocoa beans, pineapples, airplanes, boats, and Bibles are common forms. We are pleased to present a coffin replica of a slave castle by Paa Joe, the foremost maker of figural coffins. The anonymous nature of mourning will be addressed through disposable-camera snapshots of impromptu roadside memorials, taken and collected by Rob Hauschild.
Joss paper effigies are burned at Chinese Taoist funerals as a way of sending gifts and comforts to loved ones who have crossed over to the spirit realm. This age-old tradition has become heavily influenced by Western pop culture, creating a new market for paper replicas of luxury objects like LV wallets, Rolex watches, credit cards, sneakers, and beer. Rob Hauschild and Becky Smith accumulated this collection for a forthcoming book, Funny to Burn.
Roy Kortick, an artist working in ceramic and mixed media, has made a memorial for his beloved dogs K and Sammy, which also addresses the communal trauma of living in New York during 9/11. Paintings by Leela Devi and Amrita Das, from the Mithila region of Southern Nepal/Northern India, will be exhibited in New York for the first time. The paintings depict the devastating effects of the tsunami in Sri Lanka, and a long-distance tribute to the victims of 9/11. Lisa Ross photographs the adorned burial mounds of the Uyghur people from the Xinjiang area of Western China, a tradition of ornamenting twigs and branches in the desert to venerate local saints and mystics.
Victorian hair wreaths, a memento mori tradition that became popular after the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert, makes use of the hair of a loved one to create intricately woven floral tableaus. Marc Swanson and Joe Mama-Nitzberg have collaborated on a series of photographs of floral arrangements designed in memory of gay icons Darby Crash, Anna Nicole Smith, Sam Wagstaff, and Halston.
Finally, Becky Smith will exhibit her personal collection of photographs of blank grave markers, which are used to sell headstones – a macabre reminder of the inevitability of everyone’s future demise.