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Rear View Mirror

Space B
59 Franklin Street
Tribeca / Downtown
March 7 - March 9, 2012
Reception: Wednesday, February 8, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Jesus Benavente, Lauren Clay, Mary Reid Kelley, Jenene Nagy, and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz

We are pleased to announce Rear View Mirror, a pop-up exhibition of video, sculpture, drawing, and photography by artists Jesus Benavente, Lauren Clay, Mary Reid Kelley, Jenene Nagy, and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz.

The artists in the exhibition employ the language, traditions, and/or methodology of art history as materials to be mined, reconsidered, challenged, and ultimately exposed. The works reveal the artists’ desire to earnestly, yet unsentimentally, translate their historical and theoretical understandings of contemporary art into a visual language. In order to do so, the artists adeptly inject humor and encourage a new dialogue about the history of art history. As a pop-up exhibition, Rear View Mirror presents an alternative to traditional exhibition formats and takes advantage of the energy generated in New York during the frenetic week of art fairs and major museum exhibitions.

Jesus Benavente’s work examines and exaggerates the mundane, pathetic, and isolating moments of life. The six-part photographic work Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility depicts three pairs of mug shots, each taken upon the artists’ arrest for failing to keep his car registration tags up to date. The resulting photographs, blown-up until the images become pixilated, recall pop art portraits as much as they do America’s Most Wanted. Monument is a life-cast of the artist, raised to a position of esteem but posed as if in defeat. The signs of decay and neglect recall statues of forgotten heroes and disgraced dignitaries.

Lauren Clay’s newest body of work is a pastiche of her recent investigations of American decorative craft and modernist sculpture, particularly the work of David Smith. Clay’s trademark candy colors bring the work close to psychedelic without pushing it over the edge. In her installation produced specifically for this exhibition, Clay revisits Smith’s 1965 stainless steel sculpture Cubi XXVII. Reproduced in paper miniature, Clay recasts the pseudo-mysticism of modernist rhetoric in decorative camp. Clay will also create a site-specific wall painting to be viewed through the frame created by the four-sided sculpture.

Mary Reid Kelley’s videos combine stylized live action and animation. The Queen’s English chronicles the artist reciting verse inspired by World War I-era popular culture. The black-and-white video features Reid Kelley in handcrafted costume and ludicrous makeup that renders her flat and cartoon-like. The video follows a WWI nurse who considers the demise of a soldier in her ward. Reid Kelley burlesques the solemn subjects of war, death, and waste in a traditional iambic pentameter that cleverly manipulates language.

Jenene Nagy’s Measure series features large-scale works on paper based on Peter Halley’s brilliantly colored paintings. Nagy’s grayscale negates Halley’s primary markers — bright, flat colors that create an illusion of space through contrast rather than gradation. Nagy’s investigation and reinterpretation of Halley’s paintings morph based on a viewer’s physical relationship to the work. Seen straight on, the drawings appear dense; from an angle, geometric patterns unveil themselves. Nagy thus collapses Neo-Geo and Participatory art in delicate graphite.

In Ask Chuleta, an on-going series of videos that merge self-help, DIY education, and socio-political critique, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz leads a viewer through the intricacies, redundancies, and vagaries of the contemporary art world. Chuleta, Raimundi-Ortiz’s alter ego, considers many of the art world’s idiosyncratic features including biennials, critics, and appropriation. Chuleta (and Raimundi-Ortiz) is invested in contemporary art and dedicated to expanding its audience. Ask Chuleta is available in its entirety on YouTube and promises “no bullshit art talk nonsense.”

About the artists

Jesus Benavente (b. 1982 San Antonio, TX; lives and works in New Brunswick, NJ) has a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently pursuing an MFA at the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University. Select exhibitions include, New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch, Austin Museum of Art; Young Latino Artists 15, Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX; Fusebox Festival, Austin, TX; CoLab, Austin, TX; and 0ne9zero6 Gallery, San Antonio, TX. This is the first presentation of his work in New York.

Lauren Clay (b. 1982, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) has an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Recent exhibitions include Larissa Goldston Gallery, NY; MAP, Baltimore, MD; Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT; and Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY. She has held residencies at the Henry Street Settlement, NY and AIM, Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Mary Reid Kelley (b. 1979, Greenville, SC; lives and works in Saratoga Springs, NY) has an MFA from Yale University. She has had solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, and London. Major group exhibitions include The Dissolve, Site Santa Fe Biennial; and Video Art: Replay, Part 3. Ludicrous!, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2011, the American Academy awarded her the Rome Prize and she will be the subject of an upcoming episode of the PBS documentary series Art21.

Jenene Nagy (b. 1975, Bronx, NY; lives and works in Atlanta, GA and Portland, OR) has an MFA from the University of Oregon. Selected solo and group exhibitions include, The Rise of Rad, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; out/look, Washington State University Art Gallery; Apex: Jenene Nagy, Portland Art Museum; and Art on Paper 2008 Biennial, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Nagy is a full-time faculty member at Georgia State University and one half of the curatorial team TILT Export. Currently, Nagy is the 2011/2012 Curator-in-Residence at Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center, Portland.

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (b. 1973, Bronx, NY; lives and works in Bronx, NY and Orlando, FL) has and MFA from the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University. Select solo and group exhibitions include Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Jersey City Museum; Centro Cultural de España, El Salvador; El Museo del Barrio, NY; The Bronx Museum of the Arts; and Exit Art, NY. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual Arts and Design at the University of Central Florida.

For more information please contact Jennie Lamensdorf, [email protected]
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