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Performance Anxiety

548 West 28th Street, Suite 636, 212-564-7800
November 10 - December 20, 2011
Reception: Thursday, November 10, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Stadium is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition, Performance Anxiety, curated by Nicolas Djandji. Featuring the work of Steve Bishop, Christopher Chiappa, Ben Schumacher, and Timur Si-Qin, the exhibition will run from November 10th until December 20th, 2011.

Employing mass-produced products designed for bodily self-improvement, the artists in Performance Anxiety explore contemporary manifestations of consumer culture. Here, the notion that the pursuit of athletic, hygienic, and professional perfection should be sought through the constant purchase of new products is cast into doubt. Through a series of works arresting these normally utilitarian, performance-enhancing products in sculpture, Performance Anxiety waxes upon the paradoxical, collectively shared desire of the present-day individual to become superhuman—physically fit, sexually attractive, and immaculately groomed—by way of altering the body’s chemistry and obscuring its most basic functions. Contextualizing these items as aesthetic elements rather than functional goods, each artist carves a meditative space reflecting upon the absurd modus operandi of these products.

Drawing on the legacy of Minimalist sculpture, the included artists point to both art historical cues—for instance, the removal of the artist’s hand and the introduction of quotidian materials into the realm of high art—but also, in reversal, how the Minimalist aesthetic has come to factor into marketing consumer goods, specifically communicating measures of taste and sophistication. Speaking simultaneously to the degeneration of Minimalism’s once-radical content through its subsumption as a marketing tool, Performance Anxiety unearths our hesitance to critically consider our own relationships to both these types of items and to our oft-impenetrable, unconscious relationships to advertising, to which no one is alien.

New York-based artist Christopher Chiappa’s work considers the relationship between daily life, consumption, and the decline of American exceptionalism. Speed Stick (2008) continues a motif of Chiappa’s, using a readily available mass-produced good-in this case, deodorant-and recasting it with art-historical references. He has participated in exhibitions at Kate Werble, Andrea Rosen, Frederick Freiser, and Exit Art galleries in New York. A graduate of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, he is represented by Kate Werble Gallery in New York.

In the work of Timur Si-Qin, symbols of excess and luxury are used to meditate on the trappings of a globalized society in the digital age. He frequently positions hygiene products as the axis of his commentary, and examines the relationship between the ritualized use of these products and their purported improvement of life quality. To Si-Qin, society exists simply as another product of nature, outside the sphere of critique. Axe Effect (2011)’s various iterations refer to an advertising campaign that mirrored consumer desire by crafting an alluring fiction around the Axe line of products for its intended audience. Based in Berlin, Si-Qin has been exhibited widely in Europe, including two current solo exhibitions at Société, Berlin; and Fluxia, Milan, and has been featured stateside in exhibitions at Reference (Richmond, VA); Contemporary Art Center (Cincinnati, OH); California State University (Sacramento, CA); and the Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute (Chicago, IL). Performance Anxiety marks Si-Qin’s first New York exhibition.

Steve Bishop often works in serial format, revisiting and reworking visual tropes as an ongoing investigation of material and form. In his series “Φ” (2010-ongoing), Bishop employs the mathematical concept known as the golden ratio, represented by the Greek letter Phi. When used as a guideline for composition, the exacting proportions of “golden section” or “golden rectangle” are said to maximize visual pleasure. While Bishop’s Φ showcases this ideal geometry, Listerine, the other component of the sculptures in this series, subverts those feelings by overwhelming viewers with an olfactory assault, exemplifying the wryness constant throughout his work. For Performance Anxiety, Bishop has created a new, geographically specific edition of Φ, using a vivid rose-hued flavor of Listerine that is only available in the United States. This marks his first US exhibition; his work has previously been shown at the Zabludowicz Collection, Saatchi Gallery, and numerous locations throughout the United Kingdom. Bishop holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and lives and works in London.

Sculptor Ben Schumacher’s piece in Performance Anxiety utilizes sealed glass panels, window tinting, and Vitamin Water to create a gradient totem recalling both the traditional painterly technique as well as user-generated web 1.0 images. Using equal parts newfound and conventional media, Schumacher often juxtaposes a sculptural armature (such as beams and wire mesh from window screening) with contemporary materials, such as the performance-enhancing beverage used here, to question the efficacy of a traditional sculptural lexicon in analyzing the continually reinvented condition of the present. Layers of transparency and textures exist at the center of his work, the ends of which occupy both physical and virtual space. With Iman Issa, Schumacher was recently featured in a two-person exhibition at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

Stadium is a space dedicated to fostering a dynamic environment for the multi-dimensional, multi-media exchange of ideas. While remaining cognizant of contemporary media’s role in the display and distribution of art, Stadium seeks to engage these new methodologies, through participation within this loop. With an emphasis on programming that supports direct engagement through exhibitions, performances, and dialogue, Stadium addresses contemporary issues salient to the media conditions of today’s exhibition space. The gallery, located at 548 W 28th Street Suite 636 in Manhattan, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 6pm.
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