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Burt Barr and Valerie Belin

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
530 West 22nd Street, 212-929-2262
May 21 - July 2, 2010
Reception: Friday, May 21, 6 - 8 PM
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Sikkema Jenkins & Co is pleased to present a dual exhibition of new video works by Burt Barr and recent photographs by Valerie Belin on view from May 21 through July 2, 2010.

Burt Barr has claimed that “black and white are the only two colors I’ll ever need.” The current exhibition maintains this assertion with works like The Sprinkler, The Ship, and The Arrows (all 2010). Each of these works are projected on the walls in approximate square shapes, shot and projected in 4:3 ratio. The nearly still images have no narrative content – intended to be pure visual works that “hang” on the wall.

There are two notable exceptions to Barr’s claim to only need black and white on display here. The ironically named Black and White (2010) is a two-channel installation in color showing the feet of two female dancers – one black, one white. The other exception, Self Portrait (2009-10), greets visitors on a monitor as they enter the gallery. As Barr puts it, “Self Portrait is the creeps,” with a sound track of laughter and showing the artist wearing a horse mask and smoking a cigar.

Burt Barr has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. He has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofi?a, Madrid; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul; and P.S. 1, Long Island City. Other installations have taken place at The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL; and MUDAM, Luxembourg.

Barr is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, The American Film Institute, The Andrea Frank Foundation, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Art, and The Massachusetts Council on the Arts & Humanities. In the summer of 2008 he was a visiting artist at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.

Post-production for Burt Barr’s videos are provided by Steve Hamilton and Johnny Luisi at Whitehouse Productions.

Concurrent with Barr’s exhibition, the gallery will be showing recent works by Vale?rie Belin. Like Barr, Belin has worked primarily in black and white. Belin’s work captures her subject’s “object-hood” by isolating the subject from its contextual surroundings and accentuating abstract material qualities through the play of light and shadow. On exhibit here are examples from several recent series including a monumentally scaled photograph of a pair of ballroom dancers, four photographs of a single lido girl dressed in different performance costumes, and a still life of a bouquet of “Victorian flowers”- all in back and white.

Again, as with Barr, there are exceptions to Belin’s use of black and white. Her most recent foray into the use of color is a series of fruit baskets, two examples of which are on view here. These works are a response to still-lifes by Edouard Manet created for a solo exhibition at the Musee D’Orsay as part of the museum’s Correspondences series.

In addition to the Musee D’Orsay, Belin has been included in recent exhibitions at Galerie Je?ro?me-de-Noirmont, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; International Center for Photography, New York; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. A retrospective if the artist’s work traveled to the Huis Marseilles in Amsterdam, the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in Paris and the Musee L’Elysee in Lausanne in 2007-08. In 2009, she had her first US museum solo exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Belin’s works are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Maison Europe?enne de la Photographie, Paris; Muse?e des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle,Calais, France; the Cartier Foundation, Paris; and the Bibliothe?que Nationale de France, Paris.
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