Mixed Greens is delighted to announce a solo exhibition by Jenna Spevack. Using installation, sculpture, and permaculture design, she will activate the gallery space into a living urban farm. Her aim: to provide healthy greens to extraordinary people with ordinary incomes. Through interactions with gallery visitors, Eight Extraordinary Greens will explore the value placed on food while simultaneously questioning the value placed on acts of artistic social practice within a gallery context.
Spevack started experimenting with apartment-sized farming by converting her own bookshelf into a mini greenhouse and designing an efficient, sub-irrigated system for growing energy-packed plants (microgreens). To suggest a feeling of domesticity similar to her original experiment, the gallery will display household objects (such as a suitcase, a chair, and a kitchen cabinet) modified with planters and lights to house the “microfarms.” A small farm stand (a desk and large bookshelf, alive with growing plants) will serve as a space for the harvest and sale of eight different types of microgreens.
The installation will also be staged with references to Aesop’s fable “The Cock and the Jewel,” a riddle about relative value. In the story, a cockerel searching for food finds a precious gem but rejects it, wishing for corn instead.
Unlike most exhibitions where an art object is given a retail value and worth is assessed by the gallery in advance, visitors will determine the monetary value of the microgreens and the money will help support local, urban agriculture groups, such as Added Value and Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. Participants will have the choice of whether to take the greens that they’ve purchased or leave them to be donated to a local food pantry. These transactions will be recorded in the form of a “receipt”—a print signed by both the consumer and artist. The consumer will receive one copy of the receipt and a duplicate will be hung in the gallery to record the collective value of the exchanges over the course of the exhibition.
As an urban agricultural design experiment, Spevack envisions a way to grow food in an anthropogenic landscape for all strata of citizens. As an art exhibition, she hopes to facilitate conversations about what we value: creative effort versus convenience, regenerables versus disposables, neighbors versus strangers.
Jenna Spevack is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She has a BFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been shown in one-person and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Hendershot Gallery, NYC; Sanlun Yishu, Beijing, China; Mucius Galéria, Budapest, Hungary; White Columns, NYC; Art in General, NYC; Artists Space, NYC; Monya Rowe Gallery, NYC; Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY; Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and Panorama City, Zurich, Switzerland. She has received numerous grants, residencies, and fellowships including those from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; I-Park residency in CT; Platte Clove residency in Catskill, NY; Estonian Artist’s Association residency in Tallinn; Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA; MacDowell Colony in NH; Blue Mountain Center in NY; Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain; and PSCCUNY Research Foundation Awards. Her work has been recognized in publications such as The New York Times, The Daily News, New York Arts, The Times Union, Provincetown Magazine, the Providence Journal Bulletin, and Art New England. She has also been featured on Monitor Public Radio and WABC News in NYC.