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Broken Homes


Momenta Art
56 Bogart Street, 718-218-8058
December 9, 2011 - January 22, 2012
Reception: Friday, December 9, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

Momenta Art is pleased to present Broken Homes, a group show featuring work by Francis Cape, Kate Gilmore, Lisa Kirk, Marni Kotak, Anthony Marchetti, Gordon Matta-Clark, Kirsten Nelson, Leah Oates, Naomi Safran-Hon and Peter Scott.

The exhibition Broken Homes presents physical and metaphorical ruptures in domestic spaces. Some of the work in Broken Homes addresses the physical nature of home, the structures and detritus that create illusions of stability and comfort, while others more directly confront the realities of growing up in a variety of unconventional and dysfunctional environments. In whichever direction these works lean, the idea of home remains a contested site for each of us, psychologically and politically. It is a contest that is never resolved. To deconstruct the idea of home is to threaten to dissolve the person formed therein. From Tea Party definitions of marriage to Occupy Wall Street tent cities, notions of home become notions of the ideal community and notions of community become formal questions played out in architecture, planning, and law. To break apart these notions is to promise both the renewal of revolution and the dissolution of hysteria.

Gordon Matta-Clark’s Splitting provides the axis upon which the exhibition rests. A home physically split, it is an attack upon the “typical family home” as described by Matta-Clark—both as archetype and architecture. The splitting of Matta-Clark’s seminal work is further dissected by the other artists in this show, who present both dream and reality.

Peter Scott and Lisa Kirk expose the hyperbole of “Lifestyle Culture.” Scott’s photographs set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the lower East Side juxtapose idealized billboard representations of luxury interiors with the more mundane reality of scaffolding, sidewalk sheds and detritus, making evident the violence underlying urban renewal. Kirk’s House of Cards was a 2009 installation consisting of a showroom model shanty created from 52 separate pieces of found materials sourced from stalled or abandoned development projects. Actors posing as real estate agents greeted visitors and attempted to sell time-shares in a “private residence club” called Maison Des Cartes. Both artists shine a critical light onto the spectacle of capitalism following the fall of the housing market.

Inconsistencies concerning ideals, reality, form, and function are brought to the forefront in the works of Francis Cape, Naomi Safran-Hon and Kirsten Nelson. Cape juxtaposes post-Katrina photos of New Orleans with stark and partially assembled pieces of furniture modeled after a post-war British government program of approved furniture designs. Safran-Hon’s works present photographs of interiors in Israel cut and penetrated with cement—suggestive of the intrusions into domestic life by the military realities outside. Nelson’s sculptures are carefully crafted from common home building materials such as sheetrock and wood moldings. The works echo the domestic interiors upon which they are based, but exist in a state of suspended reference. Hovering between what they seem to be and what they seem to be lacking, the work represents an invented fragment of a non-existent whole, evoking a sense of the uncanny and the humorous.

The photographs by Anthony Marchetti and Leah Oates document traces of humanity. Oates photographs the detritus created by urbanization in Taipei. A boarded up building, a cart piled high with salvaged cardboard to be sold, and a colorful pile of objects thrown out of a window during a domestic dispute- all reflect the incongruities of poverty and progress in developing urban areas. Marchetti’s photographs are more subdued, using the sometimes-distant aesthetic of documentary photography to reveal a glimpse into the private lives of suburban dwellers. Marchetti photographed the rooms of suburban tract homes after their tenants had vacated, presenting a context without objects rather than an object without context.

Kate Gilmore and Marni Kotak examine the divisions and obstacles often present even within physical spaces that appear to be unified. Gilmore is the protagonist of her video, in which she is trapped in an attic-like space surrounded by furniture. Gilmore struggles to discard furniture through a hole in the floor, creating a haphazard pile which eventually provides a means of escape. Kotak’s site-specific installation Christmas in South Carolina recreates elements of Kotak’s family Christmas vacation in 2010. A live Christmas tree is festively decorated with photos and text that recount the fighting and dysfunction that ultimately drove the artist and her sister to escape the hostility and give up on any pretense of familial bliss.
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