Lombard Freid Projects is pleased to announce William Earl Kofmehl III: Dear Father Knickerbocker, I Just Googled You, the gallery inaugural exhibition at 518 West 19th Street.
Kofmehl’s ambitious show includes over 150 embroidered canvases, a sculpture of a giant squirrel referencing the mythological Trojan Horse and a life size self-portrait of the artist cast in bronze and adorned with zucchini tailed and corn eared animals. Adjacent to the bronze figure is a projected video displaying a conversation between the artist and Bernie Goetz, the infamous New York vigilante and prominent squirrel husbandrist who is remembered for his 1984 subway shooting.
Bernard Goetz, introduced to the artist by way of a mutual friend, becomes a particular source of inquiry and an indirect collaborator for Kofmehl’s exhibition. The Goetz incident, which epitomized New Yorkers’ frustrations with the high crime rates of the 1980s, provides a passage for Kofmehl into the New York City history.
The wooden sculpture of the giant squirrel becomes a backdrop for a series of performances enacted by the artist and his cast. Characters played by various members of the Kofmehl’s family and friends perform a script that conflates the Greek myth of Narcissus with the artist’s own Wikipedia explorations.
Kofmehl looks at the intersections between factual information, historical events and fictitious stories through the lens of the Internet. Sampling through the tremendous richness of his “Googling troves,” the artist resurrects forgotten events from the vast repertoire of New York City history (from the Dutch Colonial and American Civil War times through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and the 90’s decades all the way to the present). The results interpreted by Kofmehl are translated into embroideries by a group of Costa Rican women commissioned by the artist.
William Earl Kofmehl III lives and works between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Luis, Costa Rica. Recent exhibitions include Alpine Drama, Kunsthalle Winterthur (Switzerland). Kofmehl’s work will be featured in Factory Direct at The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh in the Fall of 2011. Kofmehl is a graduate of Yale University and Carnegie Mellon.