Artists: Jeanie Choi, Camilo Godoy, Ted Kerr, James Richards, Aldrin Valdez, Sam Vernon Curated by Kris Nuzzi
Radiator Gallery presents Don’t Worry What Happens Happens Mostly Without You, an exhibition that explores the personal identities of artists Jeanie Choi, Camilo Godoy, Ted Kerr, James Richards, Aldrin Valdez and Sam Vernon, as they navigate through a world shaped by experiences of marginalization, silencing and difference. Whether speaking from their own life, recreating a historical memory or representing an underrepresented community, their work explores poetic and subtle ways to communicate issues of immigration, race, queerness and desire. Together they reveal the connections and differences between these loaded social issues and invite the viewer to share in their intimate experiences.
Artist Jeanie Choi explores our longing to confess the unspeakable. Through a series of collaborations, her work mediates a language through gesture and silence by examining the relationships between the confessor and the unreciprocated other. Using photography, video and performance, the reiteration of symbols and mistranslations never reach a conclusion, but reassure us that we are all trying to broaden the possibilities of truth between us. Camilo Godoy’s work is concerned with the politics of migration and citizenship in the U.S. by drawing upon the immigrant experience and playing upon narratives extracted from government documents. Through these intimate and powerful works, we hear their personal stories in deportation proceedings while addressing the quotidian struggles detained immigrants face in the U.S.
Ted Kerr’s piece FOR MYSELF IN THE SCENE is a poster installation comprised of 3 posters that are available for viewers to take. Through the work, Ted works to find himself amid socio-political-sexual anxieties produced in a time of ongoing AIDS, increased articulation of queer vs. LGBT politics, self-as-brand and digital culture. Using the poster, a format popularized during the AIDS crisis by Fierce Pussy, Gran Fury and General Idea, this work explores identity, activism and visual culture. At the same time, James Richards’ poster Don’t Worry is inspired by a quote by Joseph Albers and is part of an ongoing project by James and artist Matt Keegan. He works with existing text, accessible images and footage from disparate sources that he then remixes and returns back into the world.
Aldrin Valdez tells his story through an installation that is a personal mix of collage and family photos, piecing together memories of his childhood. He presents images of being a child in the Philippines, photos of his parents in the U.S. when he and his siblings had not immigrated to America yet, and collages that explore patterns and surfaces.
Exploring identity and memory, Sam Vernon creates fictional characters that symbolize parts of her culture while blending aspects of neo-futurism with stereotypes, images, spirits and ghosts. Her work takes the form of drawing, painting, installation, photography and printmaking to pay homage to the past, while addressing questions of postcoloniality, racialization, sexuality and historical memory. Her work reminds us that our ghosts and past histories always remain with us and at times are unsettling and challenge us to remember.
The exhibition is on view from May 4th to May 27th 2012. The opening reception will feature a performance by Marni Kotak. In conjunction with the exhibition, on Sunday, May 20th, there will be an event on deportation titled Retracing I.C.E., organized by artist Camilo Godoy. On Sunday, May 27th, there will be a salon organized by Ted Kerr and Kris Nuzzi titled I am not alone in this way, featuring live performances that invite viewers to consider how our most intimate ways of being—striving and surviving, often in a hostile world—can be viewed as responsible for positive social change.
Kris Nuzzi is a Brooklyn based independent curator and currently works as an art advisor. She received her BA in art history from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and her MA in the art market from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where her focus was site-specific installation art. She is the 2011-2012 recipient of the Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellowship, where she had the opportunity to curate the exhibition Figured as well as organize the public program Embody at the BRIC Rotunda Gallery. She is a former intern and continued supporter and volunteer for Visual AIDS, using art to fight AIDS through initiating dialogue and supporting HIV+ artists to remind us that AIDS is not over.
About the Performance artist:
Marni Kotak is a Brooklyn-based performance artist who creates multimedia works in which she presents her everyday life as art. Referring to her daily activities, life experiences and personal milestones as Found Performances, she has publicly performed everything from being born, to attending her grandfather’s funeral. “The Birth of Baby X” was a durational performance that Kotak conducted from October 8 through November 7 at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn New York, culminating in the live birth of my baby boy Ajax, on October 25, 2011.
Kotak’s recent exhibitions include I have to get on with my life: Marni Kotak’s Found Performances from Birth to Present, held at Alice Chilton Gallery in Brooklyn, NY in January of this year.
*Title from Don’t Worry (2006), poster by James Richards.
Image caption: Jeanie Choi, from the series, “Are You Here for the Sake of Togetherness?”, 2012, Digital C-Print